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The superintendent of the schools of Kent County, 
Prof. J. L. Smyth, in his long experience as a 
teacher and in his present position, feeling the great 
need of some historical data concerning our home 
county of Kent and its county town, Chestertown, 
requested the writer to compile this book, which is 
here presented to the public. It is hoped that it 
may, at least, be the foundation, or incentive, for 
someone to produce a book, with other data dis- 
covered and other facts recovered from the dim 
ages of the past. 

In the completion of this volume, "The History 
of Kent County, Maryland," we realized the enor- 
mity of the task when we began. Impressed, how- 
ever, with the great need of some record in book 
form of even a few of Kent's historical facts, we 
have undertaken this work. It is based on a careful 
study of the means at hand and of persistent effort 
in exhuming facts contained in books, newspapers 
and articles by various writers. Among the latter 
to whom we are indebted are: Percy G. Skirven, 
who contributed the chapter on the old Court 
House, Caulk's Field and some P. E. Church his- 
tory; Hanson's family history, Hon. James Alfred 
Pearce, files of the Kent News, Mrs. Harriett Hill, 
Swepson Earle, who furnished us six pictures of 
old homes, and others whom we regard as authority 
on the subjects discussed. 

"There is nothing," says a well-known writer, 
"that solidifies and strengthens a nation like read- 

ing the nation's history, whether that history is re- 
corded in books, or embodied in customs, institu- 
tions, and monuments." It also is true as regards 
a count3^ Not to know what has been transacted 
within our own borders in former times is to be 
always a child. If no use is made of the labors and 
happenings of past ages, we must remain always in 
the infancy of knowledge. 

Kent, as a county, is rich in precious historical 
gems, and the object of this book is to present in a 
clear, connected and authentic manner some of these 
events. The author has had three chief objects in 
view^accuracy of statement, siinplicity of style, im- 
partiality of treatment. . 

It has been written in the midst of a busy life, 
but if it shall give to the future generations a rea- 
son to feel proud of this ^'Garden of Eden," and also 
preserve the noted events in its life from extinction, 
then our labor will not be in vain. 

Frederick G. Usilton. 


Chapter. Page. 

1. Events leading up to the founding of Kent County. 15 

2. The Isle of Kent 24 

3. The County of Kent 29 

4. Tench Tilghman's ride through Kent 38 

5. The battle of Caulk's Field 41 

6. Burning of Georgetown and story of Kitty Knight. 64 

7. Freedom of religious thought and worship — An- 

cient Shrewsbury 72 

8. Old St. Paul's Church, built in 1713 78 

9. Emmanuel Protestant Episcopal Church — Where 

the name originated 85 

10. The Friends' Meeting House 88 

11. Methodist records — Catholic Church — First Sunday 

School — Colored Churches 92 

12. Schools, public and private — Founding of Washing- 

ton College 103 

13. Records of first sailing vessel and early steamboat- 

ing on Chester — The first railroad 114 

14. Financial institutions and their official boards 123 

15. First military organization — Musical organizations 129 

16. Kent in the War of 1812-14 138 

17. Four United States Senators from Kent — Other 

notable men 140 

18. Old records showing transfers of land in old Kent. 147 

19. Some weather records of other days 157 

20. Women vote in Still Pond, first place in State 160 

21. Some records on the farm 162 

22. Old-time Christmas in Kent 169 

23. Chestertown — The County Town — Its early history 173 

24. "The White House" Farm, on a part of which Ches- 

tertown stands 179 

25. Throwing tea overboard in the Chestertown har- 

bor — Plays — Racing events — Novel ordinances... 182 

26. The noted Chester Bridge — Lovers and fishermen — 

Some noted events 190 

27. Notable houses in Chestertown — Newspapers — 

First hotels 197 

28. Rock Hall — Its early history — Great oyster centre. 205 

29. A noted resort — Tolchester Beach — Founded 1877.. 212 

30. Fish Hall, Betterton's first house — A lonely place. . 217 

31. Shell banks made by Indians — Happy council places 220 

32. "Monomac" — An Indian tale 225 

33. Some recollections — Old residenters — Kent's silver 

mine — Vote on local option — A great prize fight — 
Negro superstition — Crow Hill ZZ9 

34. The old Court House " 241 


Circuit Court. 

Hon. Albert Constable, Chief Judge. 

Hon. W. H. Adkins, Associate Judge. 

Hon. p. B. Hopper, Associate Judge. 

A. Parks Rasin, Clerk. 

J. Thomas Haddaway, Sheriff; Mark Perkins, deputy. 

Terms of Court: Third Monday in April and third Mon- 
day in October for Jury terms. 

Orphans' Court. 

John H. Simpers, Chief Judge. 

Edward A. Scott, Associate Judge. 

J. Henry Thompson, Associate Judge. 


Police Justices. 

R. Hynson Rogers, Chestertown. 

W. H. Schwatka, Rock Hall. 

Notaries Public. 

Colin F. Buyer, Chestertown. 

Harry C. Coleman, Chestertown. 

Eben F. Perkins, Chestertown. 

S. P. TowNSHEND, Chestertown. 

James W. Crouch, Chestertown. 

J. Raymond Simpers, Chestertown. 

J. W. Clark, Still Pond. 

Justices of Peace. 

S. E. Burgess, Rock Hall. 

G. C. Townsend, Millington. 

J. M. Sutton, Betterton. 

Vernon M. Barnett, Chestertown. 

R. C. Morgan, Galena. 

J. H. Kelly, Still Pond. 

H. M. Massey, Massey. 

Register of Wills. 
Robert R. Hill. L. B. Russell, Jr., Deputy. 

Howard F. Owens, Ollie Estes, Deputy. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 9 

County Commissioners. 

Carey W. Reinhart, President. 
Olin S. Davis, John N. Bennett, 

T. B. Crew, John C. Wood. 

Samuel Hicks, Clerk. 

School Board. 

John P. Ahern, President. 
John D. Urie, C. Romie Skirven. 

Almshouse Board. 

Harry T. Rash, Henry B. Rasin, 

Louis E. Smith, M. Wilber Thomas, 

Thomas W. Trew. 

State's Attorney. 
Harrison W. Vickers. 


William L. Fowler, George R. Rouse, 

Robert Moffett. 
R. Groome Parks, Esq., Attorney. 

Samuel E. Cooper, Day Bailiff. 

Beverly Hyland, Night Bailiff. 

U. S. Senators From Maryland. 
Blair Lee, John Walter Smith. 

County Representatives in State Legislature. 

Henry Brown, Senator. 

Harry Willis, House of Delegates. 

Herbert Urie, House of Delegates. 

Dr. Prank B. Hines, Chestertown. 

Member Board of Managers Eastern Shore Hospital. 
W. W. Beck, Esq., Chestertown. 

Bureau of Immigration. 
Harry C. Willis, Chairman, Worton. 

10 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Supervisors of Elections. 

George R. Rasin, Kennedyville. 

C. Feaxk Crow, Worton, 

John C. Davis, Chestertown. 

W. F, Russell, Jr., Clerk. 

State Tax Commission. 

L. W. WicKEs, Member of Board. 

OwEx C. Smith, Supervisor of Assessments. 

Lodge Directory. 

P. O. S. of A. No. 34 meets every Tuesday evening in 
Fraternal Hall. 

P. O. S. of A. No. 87 meets every Tuesday evening in 
Culp Building. 

Daughters of America No. 58 meet every Monday eve- 
ning in Fraternal Hall. 

Jr. O. U. A. M. No. 177 meets every Wednesday in Fra- 
ternal Hall. 

Loyal Order of ]Moose No. 1496 meets every Friday night 
in Westcott Building. 

Modern Woodmen of America No. 8745 meet second and 
fourth Friday evenings in Fraternal Hall. 

Chester Lodge No. 115, A. F. & A. M., meets first and 
third Wednesday evenings in Lyceum Theatre Building. 

Red Men meet every Thursday evening in Fraternal Hall. 

Heptasophs meet first and third Friday evenings of each 
month in Fraternal Hall. 


Train Schedule. 

Train leaves Chestertown at 7.37 A. M. for Baltimore and 
Philadelphia, connecting north and south, every day except 
Sunday. Returning, train reaches here 11.02 A. M. In the 
afternoon train leaves at 2.53, returning at 7.03 P. M. On 
Sunday train leaves at 3.55 P. M., returning at 7.28 P. M. 

Boat Schedule. 

Boat leaves Chestertown for Baltimore at 7 A. M. Mon- 
day, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in Baltimore at 
1 P. M. Returning, leaves Baltimore at 1 A. M., arriving 
in Chestertown at 7 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. 

Auto Lines connect with day boat at Tolchester and with 
train at Elkton. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 



Chestertown to — 

Worton 5.0 miles. 

Lynch 6.0 " 

Kennedyville ._ 8.2 " 

Still Pond 9.4 " 

Millington . . . 13.6 " 

Galena 15.6 " 

Masseys 17.1 " 

Georgetown ... 17.1 " 

Sassafras 20.9 " 

Chestertown to — 
Pomona . . . 
Fairlee .... 
Crumpton . 
Tolchester . 
Rock Hall.. 
Sandtown . 
Betterton .. 

4.0 miles. 




District 1 — Masseys, including Galena and Milling- 
ton towns 3,342 

Galena town 262 

Millington town 399 

District 2— Kennedyville 2,391 

District 3 — Worton or Betterton, including Betterton 

town 2,041 

Betterton town 308 

District 4 — Chestertown, including Chestertown 2,941 

Chestertown town 2,735 

District 5 — Edesville, including Rock Hall town 3,207 

Rock Hall town 781 

District 6— Fairlee 1,700 

District 7 — Pomona 1,335 

The population of Kent County in 1900 was 18,786. 


Chestertown 22 feet. 

Blacks 80 " 

Still Pond 70 " 

Masseys 64 " 

Sassafras 34 feet. 

Millington 27 " 

Edesville 24 " 

Georgetown 5 " 


The Kent County Commissioners give the road mileage 
as follows: First District and Second District, each 120 
miles; Third District, 85 miles; Fourth District, 60 miles; 
Fifth District, 100 miles; total, 480 miles. 

12 History of Kent County, Maryland 

i Prec. S 

Q Q 









1. 1 

. ... 248 



• • • 







... 232 


• • • 

• a • 






2. 1 

... 155 


• • • 


• • • 






... 169 







3. 1 

... 194 




• • • 






... 135 



• ■ • 






4. 1 

... 232 


• • • 


• • • 






... 210 








b. J. . . . . 

. ... 345 


• • • 

• • • 







... 254 


• • • 

• • • 


• • • 





... 183 




• • • 

• • • 





... 148 








Totals.. 2505 1682 9 17 14 50 2843 1434 4277 


COUNTY, 1916. 

Real and Personal, $9,477,889.00. 

Ordinary Business Corporations, $24,118.69. 

Bonds and Securities, $501,966.64. 



With the dawning of creation, when the earth began to roll 
Through the mazes of countless planets, with the Master in control ; 
When its broad expanse of verdure turned its face first toward the sun. 
There was just one little corner that he straight pronounced well done. 

There the undulating acres spread themselves in vast array, 

With their sparkling streams of nectar lost in clouds of silver spray ; 

There the sleepy knoll and dingle were the essence of delight. 

And the murmur of the breezes crooned the glory of His might. 

'Twas a pleasing land ecstatic, just where heaven touched the heath. 
Where the green and gold of nature intermingled in a wreath 
Thro' the woodlands bold and stately, where they crowned the verdant shore 
Of dark meandering rivers now replete with mystic lore. 

It was just the spot ideal, where the son of man might roam 
With thrills of wild abandon 'neath the blue empyrean dome ; 
Where he saw in rich profusion all the earth had to display. 
In one gorgeous panorama like the charms of Mosellay. 

'Twas the masterpiece primeval, of the great creative God ; 
Once the rendezvoua of angels, when its heather was untrod. 
"The hidden soul of harmony," where the lotus brewed its spice. 
In lordly, proud magnificence stood the world's lone paradise. 

Now that favored land elysian to our* vision yet appears. 

As the ages turn their pages after twice ten thousand years ; 

'Tis the same today as ever — still a land of sweet content. 

Still the pearl to which man's pleasure has affixed the name of Kent. 

Ah ! those perfumes so delicious where the living roses blow. 

Where the moons are more effulgent, where the suns more kindly glow, 

Where her solitudes will lull you into dreams of Eden's bow'r. 

And a world of wonders greet you in the cycle of an hour. 

Yes, she blooms today as ever in her robes of green and gold, 
Whilst the splendors of her raiment will remain for aye untold ; 
'Tis to see this "Isle of Beauty," feel her ozone in your veins. 
Feel the tingle of enchantment as you scan her fair domain. 

Then you'll realize what blessings are about you to enjoy, 

Not a shadow of disquiet to discourage or annoy ; 

Here you'll see man's art has failed him to enhance one single charm. 

And the dream of life has centered 'bout "an old Kent County farm." 

'Bout her bayous, coves and meadows — -'bout each pebble on her strand — 
'Bout the wind scarped bluffs and headlands where the Chester laves her sand. 
Where the moonglades are idyllic, where the loveleis entrance. 
Where the whole is an oasis and a perfect necromance. 

'Tis the scene of joys exquisite, lulling life's sojourn away. 
Blissful rhapsodies of pleasure in an endless roundelay 
Lull the soul to dreamy fancy, into reverie and muse — 
Oh, ye gods ! what have you better to enthrall man — to enthuse ? 

Seek sequestered vale and mountain, tread the globe from pole to pole. 
Not one spot like "Old Kent County" has the charm to reach the soul. 
'Tis the bourne at which, men marvel, 'tis the one supremely blest, 
'Tis the "fairest of ten thousand" and of God's creation— BEST. 



History of Kent County, Maryland 15 


Events Leading Up to the Founding of 
Kent County. 

Blood Shed and Dissensions — Claihonie Wins Good 
Will of Indians — Jealousy of Oicnership Beticeen 
Virginia and Maryland — The Old Desire For More 
Territory Plainly Seen. 

The Virginia colony was jealous of Maryland 
chiefly for three reasons. First, Maryland had once 
been a part of the territory of Virginia; secondly, 
Maryland was ruled bv Catholics, while Virginia 
was Protestant ; thirdly, the commercial rights and 
priyileges of Maryland were much greater than 
those of Virginia. Thus for a time Maryland's sister 
colon}^ and nearest neighbor unfortunately became 
her worst enemy. The ^^irginians Ayere represented 
by William Claiborne, their Secretary of State. 
This man, not unjustly called the eyil genius of 
Maryland, was the prime moyer of mischief from 
first to last, and deyoted all the energies of his un- 
usually determined and perseyeriug nature to the 
task of ruining the Maryland colon A^ For twenty 
Axars his influence seriously affected Maryland his- 
tory, and more than once nearly brought about the 
colonA^'s destruction. 

Claiborne's opportunity came in the following 
manner. Coming oyer to Virginia in 1G21 as sur- 
veyor, his force of character brought him rapidly 
into notice, and at the time of the settlement on the 
St. Mary's he was Secretary of State for Virginia 

16 History of Kent County, Maryland 

and a member of the Governor's Council. He began 
to engage to some extent in the fur trade with the 
Indians. In this he was so successful as to induce 
a firm of London merchants to employ him, as a 
special agent or partner in the business of trading 
with the Indians. Claiborne then established a post 
on Kent Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, for this 
purpose, and obtained licenses to trade; but he 
did not secure any grant of land. A few dwellings 
were erected, which were paid for by the London 
merchants, Cloberry and Company. To complete 
the claim of Virginia, it should be noted also that 
Palmer's Island had been occupied by traders, and 
trading expeditions had been conducted by Henry 
Fleet, John Pory, and possibly other Virginians. 
The Maryland charter spoke of the country as 
^'hitherto uncultivated" ; but this was descriptive 
merely, and not a condition of the grant, and if it 
had been, the traders had not settled or cultivated 
the country. 

The instructions of the proprietary regarding 
Claiborne were very generous. Acting according to 
these instructions. Governor Calvert notified Clai- 
borne that his post was within the limits of Mary- 
land. He was given to understand that he would 
be welcome to the land he had occupied, but that 
he must acknowledge the authority of Lord Balti- 
more, and hold the land from him and not from 
Virginia. Claiborne, on receiving this notice, asked 
the Virginia Council what he should do. Their 
answer was, that they wondered at his asking such 
a question ; could there be any more reason for giv- 
ing up Kent Island than any other part of Virginia? 

History of Kent County, Maryland 17 

Thus Claiborne made his OAvn cause and that of 
Virginia one, and feeling sure of support now, he 
returned an answer to Governor Calvert in which 
he utterly refused to acknowledge the authority of 
Maryland and Lord Baltimore. 

The Dispute Leads to Bloodshed, 

The proprietary's instructions i)rovided that if 
Claiborne should refuse to acknowledge the jurisdic- 
tion of Marvland, he was to be undisturbed for a 
year. But trouble soon arose. The Indians, hitherto 
so friendly and sociable, became cold and reserved — 
a change which alarmed the people greatly. On 
investigation, Claiborne was charged with telling 
lies to the Indians for the purpose of stirring them 
up against the Marylanders, but in justice it must 
be said that when the Indians were questioned in 
his presence they declaimed that he had never done 
anything to prejudice them against the people of 

But there was trouble of a more serious nature 
when a vessel of Claiborne's, under the command of 
Thomas Smith, was seized in the Patuxent river for 
trading without a license in Maryland waters. In 
return, Claiborne fitted out an armed vessel, the 
Cockatrice, under the command of Lieutenant 
Ratcliffe Warren, which he sent out with orders 
to capture any Maryland vessel that might be 
met. When news of these mighty doings came 
to the ears of Governor Calvert, he promptly 
armed and sent out two vessels, the St. Mar- 
garet and the St. Helen, under the command of 
Captain Thomas Cornwallis. "The two expeditions 

18 History of Kent County, Maryland 

met at the mouth of the Pocomoke on April 23d, and 
then and there was fought the first naval battle on 
the inland waters of America." Several men were 
killed and wounded on both sides, Lieutenant War- 
ren being among the killed, and the Cockatrice sur- 
rendered. A second fight took place a few days 
later, in which Thomas Smith commanded the vessel 
of Claiborne, resulting in more bloodshed. 

The Capture of Kent Island. 

For a time Claiborne remained in undisturbed 
possession of Kent Island. But his afi'airs presently 
took on a different color, for his London partners, 
Cloberr}^ and Company, became dissatisfied with his 
management, and sent out an agent named George 
Evelin to take charge of their propert3\ Claiborne 
tried hard to induce Evelin to promise not to give 
up the island to the Marylanders, but could not suc- 
ceed. He then went to England and engaged in a 
lawsuit with the London merchants who had em- 
ployed him. Evelin went to St. Mary's, after a time, 
and there he heard the other side of the story, and 
was fullv convinced of the riffht of Marvland's claim 
to the island. On his return, he called the people 
together and explained the situation to them, and 
Lord Baltimore's authority was recognized. Gov- 
ernor Calvert then appointed Evelin commander of 
the island. 

But the matter was not vet settled. A number of 
persons were arrested for debts owed to Cloberry 
and Companj^, and Thomas Smith (the same who 
had already taken part against the Marylanders) 
and John Butler (a brother-in-law of Claiborne) used 

History of Kent County, Maryland 19 

every opportunity to stir up dissatisfaction. The 
matter finally amounted to a rebellion, and Governor 
Calvert, after several warnings, proceeded to the 
island himself, with a body of armed men, to offer 
a little more forcible persuasion. The attack was 
a complete surprise, and Smith and Butler were 
captured. The Maryland flag was first used in this 
battle and was known as Baltimore's flag. The 
Governor then offered to pardon all others who 
would come in at once and submit themselves to the 
government of Maryland, ^'whereupon," says Gover- 
nor Calvert, in a letter to his brother, the proprie- 
tary, "the whole ileand came in and submitted them- 
selves." Smith was tried before the Assemblv on 
charges of piracy and murder, was convicted and 
sentenced to death; Butler, not being accused of 
crimes so serious, and having shown a better dispo- 
sition, was pardoned by the Governor and afterward 
came to hold office in the province. 

In England the final blow was now struck against 
the cause of Claiborne. The quarrel over Kent 
Island had been referred to the Board of Commis- 
sioners for the Plantations (a body having charge 
of colonial affairs), and they decided that as Lord 
Baltimore had a grant from the King of England, 
while Claiborne had merely a trading license, the 
title was undoubtedly with the former. This was 
due to the fact that Virginia had forfeited its rights 
to all territory and it was within the King's right 
to grant to whomsoever he chose any part of the 
land that had been within the Virginia Company's 

20 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Claiborne refused to submit to the Lord's Pro- 
prietary's demand, and in September, 1634, he was 
forced to withdraAV, and fled to Virginia ; he was 
attainted and his property confiscated. GoYernor 
Harvey refused to surrender him to the authorities 
of Maryland or to protect him, but, under the pre- 
tense of high respect for the King's license, sent 
him to England, with the witnesses, to await the 
royal pleasure. Claiborne never forgot or forgave 
this conduct of the authorities of Virginia, and 
brought it bitterly to their remembrance in 1652. 

Claiborne went to England a bitter, vindictive 
and unrelenting enemy to the Lord Proprietary. 
He petitioned the King for a confirmation of his 
former license to trade, for a grant of other lands 
adjoining Kent Island, and the power to govern 
them. The King, influenced by Sir William Alex- 
ander, his Secretary for Scotland, and one of Clai- 
borne's associates in the license, issued the order. 
The matter was finally adjudicated, in April, 1638, 
and determined "that the right to all the territory, 
within which Claiborne's settlements were made, was 
vested in Lord Baltimore." 

The next year, as an humble supplicant, he begged 
of the Governor and Council of Maryland the resti- 
tution of his confiscated property. This was sternly 
and harshly denied. Failing in this, in 1644, he 
instigated the Indians to make war upon the colony. 
As soon as peace was restored to the afflicted people, 
he associated himself with Kichard Ingle, a pro- 
claimed "traitor to the King," excited and led a re- 
bellion against the Proprietary's government, and 
actually drove the Governor out of the colony. For 

History of Kent County, Maryland 21 

more than a year lie held possession of the govern- 
ment, during which time valuable records of the 
province were lost or destroyed. 

The Governor, Leonard Calvert, did not long sur- 
vive his restoration. He died at St. Mary's the 9th 
day of June, 1047. Among his last acts, and pe- 
culiarly interesting to us, Avas the reconstruction 
of the government of Kent Island. 

After this, when King Charles had been beheaded 
(30th January, 1G19), and the Commonwealth was 
established, the irrepressible Claiborne, with Fuller 
and others, was commissioned, in September, 1G51, 
by Cromwell's Council of State, to subjugate the 
province whence he had been lately driven as a rebel. 
They were empowered ''to reduce and govern the 
colonies within the Chesapeake Bay." Here was a 
fine and open field for Claiborne to glut his ven- 
geance, and he was swift to avail himself of the 
opportunity. Never did a towering hawk more 
eagerly swoop upon a poor, mousing owl than did 
Claiborne, straight as an arrow from a bow, seek 
and find his quarry. He paid his respects first to 
Virginia — performed his agreeable task of "reduc- 
tion" neatly, cleanly and expeditiously. Then, like 
a falcon, he plumed his feathers, and in March, 1652, 
borne upon the wings of the wind, pounced upon St. 
Mary's. He treated Governor Stone with insolent 
indignity, violently seized upon his commission, and 
deposed him from office. 

Claiborne, then, the 29th of March, appointed a 
council, of which Robert Brooke was made presi- 
dent and acting Governor, took possession of the 
records, and abolished the authority of the Proprie- 

22 History of Kent County, Maryland 

tary. In July, 1652, Stone submitted, and was re- 
instated and permitted to retain and administer the 
government ''in the name of the keepers of the 
liberty of England." Claiborne again took posses- 
sion of Kent Island and Palmer's Island, at the 
mouth of the Susquehanna. Having triumphed, this 
man of Belial was master of the situation, and the 
power of Lord Baltimore was overthrown. 

A proclamation, in the name of Cromwell, was is- 
sued, dated 22d day of July, 1654, and a commission 
appointed for the go^^rnment, at the head of which 
was Captain William Fuller. 

As soon as convenient. Lord Baltimore made an 
effort to regain his rights, and directed Stone to 
require all persons to take the ''oath of fidelity" 
and re-establish the Proprietary government. This 
was done in the latter part of 1654. As soon as 
Claiborne heard of these proceedings, with one fell 
spring he grappled with all his foes. At the battle 
of Providence (now Annapolis), 25th March, 1655, 
he took Stone prisoner, and compelled him again to 
submit. He condemned Stone to be shot, but the 
soldiers loved the amiable Governor, and refused to 
execute the cruel order. 

In 1658 the government was, happily, restored to 
the Proprietary by treaty, and the claims of Vir- 
ginia and Claiborne at once and forever ex- 

History op Kent County, Maryland 23 




24 History of Kent County, Maryland 

The Isle of Kent. 

This beautiful island was settled, as we have seen, 
between the years 1627 and 1630, by William Clai- 
borne, its government organized as a colony of Vir- 
ginia and as such represented in the General As- 
sembly of Virginia, which was held at James City 
on the 21st of February, 1631-2. 

It appears that, toward the latter part of the year 
1637, the Isle of Kent had been in some measure 
reduced to the obedience of Lord Baltimore. Clai- 
borne had failed in his attempts to regain possession 
of it, by force, and had, as before stated, been sent 
b}^ the Governor of Virginia to England, to seek 
what remedy he might find there. 

It now became necessary to extend and establish 
the civil authorit}^ of the Lord Proprietor over the 
Island, as a part of the Province of Maryland. Ac- 
cordingly, on the 30th day of December, 1637, 
Leonard Calvert, Governor of Maryland, constituted 
and appointed his ''good friend Captain George 
Evelin, of the isle commonly called Kent," "to be 
Commander of the said Island and the inhabitants 
thereof," with power to elect and choose a Council, 
and to call a "court of courts," to hear and deter- 
mine "all causes and actions whatsoever civil" not 
exceeding in damages or demands the value of ten 
pounds sterling, and with the criminal jurisdiction 
of "justice of peace in England," not extending to 
life or member, etc. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 25 

Notwithstanding, and although, Claiborne was ab- 
sent, many of the inhabitants did not hesitate to 
express their contempt for and resist the constituted 
authorities; and it was deemed necessary that the 
Governor, assisted by Captain Thomas Cornwallis, 
one of the Council, and a competent armed force, 
should proceed to the Island and reduce its seditious 
inhabitants, by martial law if necessary. 

The Governor thought the emergency a serious 
one, and he appointed Mr. John Lewger, his secre- 
tary, to act in his stead during his absence from 
St. Mary's. 

On the 22d day of April, 1638, Governor Calvert 
appointed William Brainthwayte to be ''Commander 
of the Isle of Kent in all matters of warfare by sea 
and land necessary to the resistance of the enemy 
or suppression of mutinies and insolencies,-' in all 
matters civil and criminal to exercise the jurisdic- 
tion of a Justice of the Peace, to hold a court of 
courts, and to hear and determine all causes civil 
''not exceeding in damages or demands to the value 
of one thousand weight of tobacco." 

A General Assembly met at the Fort of St. Mary's 
on Mondav, the 25th of Februarv, 1638-1639. Mr. 
Nicholas Browne, planter, and Mr. Christopher 
Thomas, appeaiied among the Burgesses, as the dele- 
gates from Kent. Their credentials, the returns 
from the Isle of Kent, were certified by twenty-four 
signatures. Supposing these signatures to have 
been the names of all the male heads of families, 
then on the Isle of Kent, as they most probably 
were, it would afford a tolerable datum from which 
might be inferred the aggregate white population 

26 History of Kent County, Maryland 

of Ihe Island at this period of time. Accounting 
five to a famil}^, the usual computation, the popula- 
tion would amount to one hundred and twenty souls. 

At this Assembly (1638-1639) the powers of the 
Commander w^ere more clearly ascertained, and a 
''court of record" was erected, to be called the Hun- 
dred Court of Kent; of Avhich the Commander of 
the Island was to be the judge, and from which 
court an appeal lay to the County Court at St. 
Mary's. Provision was also made for the Supreme 
Court at St. Mary's to sit occasionallv on the Isle 
of Kent. 

In consequence of dangers arising from the hos- 
tility of the ''savages/' Captain Giles Brent, Esq., 
one of the Council, "was commissioned, February 
3d, 1639, to be Commander of the Isle of Kent," 
with military powers. This was for special and 
temporary purpose. He remained on the Isle, in 
commission, but a few months, for it appears that 
on the 14th day of August, 1640, William Brain- 
thwayte was acknowledged by the Governor as Com- 
mander of the Isle, and ''Giles Brent," as the treas- 
urer of the province. 

The Indians had again become so hostile that the 
Governor on the 10th day of July, 1641, issued his 
proclamation, prohibiting all persons Avhatsoever to 
harbour or entertain any Indian, under pain of the 
penalties of martial law, and declaring it unlawful 
for any inhabitant whatsoever of the Isle of Kent 
to shoot, wound or kill any Indian whatsoever com- 
ing upon the said island. 

On the 16th day of December, 1642, Mr. Giles 
Brent was appointed, by commission, to be Com- 

History op Kent County, Maryland 27 

mander of the Isle and County of Kent; to be Chief 
Captain in all matters of warfare; and to be Chief 
Judge in all matters civil and criminal, happening 
within the said Island, not extending to life or mem- 


ber or freehold. In the same commission also, Wil- 
liam Ludington, Richard Thompson and Eobert 
Vaughan were appointed to be commissioners within 
the said Island to all powers and effects as to com- 
missioners of a county by the law of the province da 
or shall belong. Commissioners of a county appear 
to have been then considered as having not only the 
power of conservators of the peace at common law, 

28 History of Kent County, Maryland 

but as thereby authorized to hold a county court. 
These gentlemen seem, therefore, to have been now 
first authorized to hold a county court in the Isle of 

If any such court was held by them the record, 
and all evidence of it, has been lost. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 29 

To Be Known as Kent County. 

The Isle of Kent, the proud but beautiful Virgin 
Queen of the Chesapeake, was now joined in the 
bonds of holy wedlock with Maryland ; changing her 
state she also changed her name, and, together with 
all her possessions, will hereafter be known as Kent 
County, until irreverent hands carved away with 
invisible lines her ancient domains; and herself, 
sole relic of the olden time, deprived of her mar- 
riage croAvn, was given as a dowry to the daughter 
of her elder sister. 

Governor Calvert, the 18th day of April, 1647, 
commissioned Robert Yaughan to be chief captain 
and commander of all the militia of the Isle of Kent, 
and invested him with the power of martial law. 
He further authorized the said Captain Robert 
Vaughan to award all process necessary, according 
to the law and custom of this province, etc. ; and 
he also authorized the said Captain Robert Vaughan, 
William Cox, Thomas Bradnox, Edward Comins, 
Philip Conner and Francis Brooke, or the major part 
of them, whereof the said Robert Vaughan ta be al- 
ways one, to hear, try and judge, according to the 
laws of this province, all actions and causes civil, 
except where the freehold of any one shall come 
in question, provided that it shall be lawful for any 
man, at any time before execution served, to appeal 
unto the provincial court ; and he also invested them 
with criminal jurisdiction, excepting when the life 
or members of any one person shall come in question. 

30 History of Kent County, Maryland 

He further aulliorized Captain Yaiighan, by com- 
mission dated the 31st of May, to collect, demand and 
receive, for the use of the Lord Proprietary, all cus- 
toms, confiscations, forfeitures and escheat, by any 
means and at any time, due to his said Lordship 
upon the said island, and also by two other commis- 
sions to Mr. Francis Brooke, he was required to take 
into his custodj^ all neat cattle belonging to his said 
Lordship in the said island, and particularly all the 
estate of John Abbott, late of said island. 

These were the last acts of Governor Leonard 
Calvert. A few days afterwards, on the 9th of June, 
1647, he died, after having appointed, by a verbal 
nomination, Mr. Thomas Greene as his successor. 

The first parliament of Maryland assembled in 
April, 1649, at St. Mary's, fifteen years after the 
landing of the Pilgrims under Governor Calvert. 

Kent was the only other county within the limits 
of the principality. Captain Nicholas Martin rep- 
resented the County in the parliament and was paid 
twenty-six pounds of tobacco each day (|1.56). In 
1650-60 arrived the families of Burgess, Ringgold, 
Hynson, Jones, Wickes, Smyth, Leeds, Paca, Chase, 
Pearce, Chambers, Tilghman, Thompson, Frisby, 
Wroth and other well-known names w^hose descend- 
ants figure prominently in Kent. 

This county was named after the English shire 
from whence came most of the early settlers, who 
saw in its smiling landscape a replica of the fairest 
county of England. It has an area of 315 square 
miles, of which about 75 miles are water. It has 
435 miles of county roads. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 31 

To what sort of country did our colonist come? 
Notliing small or mean greeted the eve. There was 
the magnificent expanse of the Chesapeake Bay; 
there was the beautiful Chester, beside which it can 
well be said, ^'the Thames was but a rivulet" ; there 
were mighty forests stretching as far as the eye 
could reach, unchoked by briers, and containing 
"strange and beautiful trees" ; there were banks and 
groves dotted with the early flowers of spring ; there 
were myriads of water fowl and flocks of wild tur- 
keys; there were new and wonderful birds — the jay 
with his coat of blue, the tanager in his feathers of 
scarlet, and, strangest of all, the oriole in a dress 
of black and green — and this was Kent. No scarcity 
of food ever existed. The bay and rivers were teem- 
ing with fish and covered with water fowl, while 
the forests held multitudes of wild turkeys, deer, 
bears and small game. As for corn harvests, they 
were so bountiful that corn was almost immediately 
sent to New England and there exchanged for salt 
fish and other supplies. 

In 1GJ:8 the county had 135 persons. In 1652-3 
there were 66 white males and 330 white souls in 
Kent. In 1910 there were 10,795 white inhabitants 
and 5,162 colored. The assessment was |9,880,450 
on real estate and |30,629.40 on stocks. 

It is separated from Delaware on the east by a 
line run by Mason and Dixon. The western boun- 
dary is formed by the upper portion of the Chesa- 
peake Bay, while the Sassafras Eiver separates it 
from Cecil and the Chester River from Queen Anne's 
County. The county is located between the parallels 
of 39 degrees and 39 degrees 22 minutes, south lati- 

32 History of Kent County, Maryland 

tude, and between the meridians of 75 degrees 42 
minutes and 75 degrees 16 minutes, west longitude. 

In 1910 the farms in Kent were estimated at 956, 
and the average acreage 179. 

Tobacco was the most common currency of the 
province, and in 1650 one pound of it w^as worth 
three pence of English mone}^ Our ancestors sat 
upon stools, dined without forks, made free use of 
the napkin, and paid especial attention to the furni- 
ture of their bed chambers. The walls of their prin- 
cipal rooms were wainscoted; tea and coffee were 
rarely tasted; cider and sack were drank freely; 
plenty of fish, oysters and canvasback ducks. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 33 


Tench Tilgh man's Ride Through Kent. 

Beneath the broad and extending shade of a noble 
oak in old St. Paul's Cemetery, there rest the re- 
mains of James Tilghman, once Provincial Coun- 
cilor of Pennsylvania, the father of Colonel Tench 
Tilghman, the confidential secretary and aide-de- 
camp to Gen. George Washington. On the surrender 
of Cornwallis, October 19, 1781, Tilghman was 
selected by Washington to carry his official dispatch 
to the Congress at Philadelphia, announcing that 
glorious and all-important event. 

Taking boat in York Harbor, he was lost one night 
aground on Tangier shoals. On reaching Annapolis 
he found a dispatch from the Count de Grasse 
dated on the eighteenth, to Governor Thomas Sim 
Lee, had reached there a day ahead of him and been 
forwarded to Philadelphia. Without stopping he 
pushed on across the bay to Kent, having lost a 
whole day in a calm between Annapolis and Rock 
Hall. From there to Philadelphia is about eightj^ 
miles as the crow flies. De Grasse's courier had 
passed through Kent a day ahead. The people were 
on tiptoe to hear the news from York. Their hearts 
stopped as they imagined they heard the great guns 
of the English and the French booming over the 
waters in the still night. All looked with wistful 
eyes to the South for some sign of the issue of the 
weary struggle. 

It was the supreme efl'ort of American liberty. 
It was the very crisis of freedom. But the flower 

34 History of Kent County, Maryland 

of Maryland was in that fight, and the lower coun- 
ties on the Delaware had sent their bravest and best 
to back their brethren of the Eastern Shore. One 
of the miracles of history, attested time and again 
by indisputable evidence, is that when the minds of 
a whole people are at white heat of excitement and 
expectation, knowledge comes to them independent 
of the senses. The victory of Pharsalia was known 
in Rome at the time it occurred, and the events of 
Waterloo Avere discussed on the London Stock Ex- 
change before it adjourned, on the 18th of June; 
and in June, 1863, the attack of Ewell on Milory was 
heard and the result detailed in Eichmond, 150 
miles away from Winchester, where the battle took 
place, on the Sunday afternoon on Avhich it occurred. 
There were no telegrams or possible means of com- 

So when Tench Tilghman landed at Rock Hall he 
was furnished a horse for his hundred miles' ride 
through the countrj^, and found the hearts and 
minds of men and women aglow with divine frenzy. 
They felt what had occurred without knowing it, 
and were Avild for confirmation of knowledge. Up 
through Kent, without drawing rein, this solitary 
horseman sped his way. He followed the old post 
road through this county by way of Forktown (now 
Edesville), passing by old St. Paul's Church, then 
to Chestertown and on to Georgetown, where he 
crossed the Sassafras River. When his horse began 
to fail he turned to his nearest kinsman — for they 
were mostly of the same blood — and riding up to 
the lonely farmhouse in old Kent would shout, 
"Cornwallis is taken; a fresh horse for the Con- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 


gress I" and in a minute lie would be remounted and 
pushing on in a free gallop. All the night of the 
twenty-second he rode up the peninsula, not a 
sound disturbing the silence of the darkness except 

the battle marker at caulk's field. 

the beat of his horse's hoofs. Every three or four 
hours he would ride up to a lonely homestead, still 
and quiet and dark in the first slumbers of the night, 
and thunder on the door with his sword : "Corn- 
wallis is taken; a fresh horse for the Congress!'^ 
Like an electric shock the house would flash with 
an instant light and echo with the pattering feet of 
women, and before a dozen greetings could be ex- 

36 History op Kent County, Maryland 

changed and but a word given of the fate of the loved 
ones at York, Tilghman would vanish in the gloom, 
leaving a trail of glory and joy behind him. So he ^ ,, 
sped through Kent, across the head of the Sassafras,'-:^ 
through Christiana, by Wilmington, straight on to 
Philadelphia. The tocsin and the slogan of his news 
spread like fire in dry grass, and left behind him a 
broad blaze of delirium and joy. 

'^Cornwallis is taken!" passed from mouth to 
mouth, flew through the air, was wafted on the 
autumn breeze, shone with the sunlight. "Cornwal- 
lis is taken! Liberty is won! Peace is come! Once 
more husbands, fathers, sons, lovers shall return to 
the hearts that gave them to the cause! Once more 
shall joy set on every hearth and happiness shine 
over every roof tree!" When or where in all the tide 
of time has such a message been carried to such a 

Liberty with justice! 

Peace with honor ! 

Victory with glory ! Liberty, peace, victory, honor 
and glory now and forever, one and inseparable! 

These were the tidings that Tench Tilghman bore 
when he rode into Philadelphia at midnight of the 
twenty-third, four days from the army of York. The 
dispatch from De Grasse had been received, but the 
Congress and the people waited for Washington. 
Nothing was true but tidings from him. Rousing 
the President of the Congress, McKean, Tilghman 
delivered his dispatch to him and the news was 
instantly made public. The watchmen as they went 
their rounds cried : "Twelve o'clock, all is well, and 
Cornwallis is taken!" In a minute the whole city 

History of Kent County, Maryland 37 

was wild; lights flashed from every window; men, 
women and children poured into the streets. The 
State House bell rang out its peal of "Liberty 
throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof !" 
And thirteen sovereign and independent States were 
proclaimed to the world. 


By the Rev. Dr. Oliver Huckel. 

The sword of Cornwallis was yielded in shame; 

The twenty-eight regiments, called out by name, 

Their colors surrendered. The whole British host 

Marched out 'twixt the ranks of America's boast, 

And laid down their muskets. Redcoat drummers with 

Beat the old English air— "The World's Upside Down!" 

And the great war was ended; the last battle fought, 
And freedom was won, so long eagerly sought! 
'Twas October nineteen, and the year eighty-one. 
When at Yorktown full triumph crowned great Washing- 
The vet'ran's bronzed check was wet with a tear, 
But ne'er had his heart known dishonor or fear. 

Who shall carry the message to Congress afar. 

That Cornwallis is taken, and ended the war? 

Who shall spread the glad tidings to hamlet and town 

That freedom is won with an honored renown? 

What trustiest courier, swiftest and strong, 

Shall bear the glad news they have waited for long? 

The General looked anxious and pondered awhile, 
Then selected his man, and with confident smile 
Spake, "Tilghman, to horse! And speed night and day! 
Take this message to Congress without a delay!" 
'Twas a sprightly young officer, long his close friend. 
Who had served in the war from beginning to end. 

Then swift to the stirrup Tilghman leaped at the word, 
Snatching holster and pistols and girding his sword; 
He stopped not a moment, but with joy on his face 
He was off like the wind in the desperate race; 
The dispatch buttoned tight, naught else would he heed. 
But northward as fast as his good horse could speed. 

38 History of Kent County, Maryland 

He reached the York Ferry as dusk darkened the day 
And chartered a sloop for quick course up the bay. 
The white stars crept out as they drove swift along; 
The fresh gale seemed singing a patriot song, 
As it sped the glad news, like a swift-flying dart — 
The glad news of victory thrilling his heart. 

Now Chesapeake Bay can be mild as a lamb, 

With softest of zephyrs and waves smooth and calm. 

That night came a thunderstorm. Fierce lightnings 

And the sloop rocked and reared as the angry waves 

For hours were they driven till the tempest was past, 
And on far Tangier Shoals they had drifted at last. 

A whole night had been lost. As the morning dawned 

They got off the shoals and went driving away 
Up the Chesapeake under full canvas. They steered 
For Annapolis shore. Oh, how slow time appeared! 
Through the day, through the night, drive they swift as 

they can. 
And at last they could hear the faint bells of St. Ann. 

So they came to the wharf of Annapolis soon — 
On Sunday as the worshipers came forth at noon; 
They found all excitement, for the good Count de Grasse 
Had writ Governor Lee what must sure come to pass; 
So they shout with great joy when Tench Tilghman 

And the good news is told amid answering cheers. 

Where the Peggy Stewart burned the people went wild; 
They thronged around the State House, every man, woman, 

The guns roared salute, great fires glory lent. 
But Tilghman must haste on his voyage 'cross to Kent. 
He cried: "Take the message to old Baltimore, 
I must speed on my way through the far Eastern Shore!" 

Now again did the elements hinder his way. 

For smooth as a mill pond was Chesapeake Bay; 

No wind — not a breath — and they lay like a log 

All night on, the water becalmed in a fog; 

The night and the water were calm as the morn, 

But Tench Tilghman's hot heart with a tempest was torn. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 39 

At Rock Hall he landed; found horse; off they go 
Like a well-chosen arrow let loose from the bow; 
Through rich meadows they pass, over bridges they shoot, 
By gardens and orchards hung heavy with fruit. 
He rode 'cross the head of old Sassafras stream, 
And on through the green hills as fleet as a dream. 

More than once as he rode this peninsular way 

His horse trembled and sank. Whether night, whether 

He cried to some farmhouse: "Ho, good folks, awaken! 
A fresh horse for Congress I Cornwallis is taken!" 
Lights flashed, quick feet echoed, a strong horse was given. 
And Tilghman was off like a courier of Heaven. 

"Hurrah!" cried the farmers from meadow and door, 
And cheers rent the air at the good news he bore; 
Wives and children rushed out as the horseman went by 
And laughed with delight at his jubilant cry; 
And bonfires were lit and church bells were heard 
As the countryside roused into joy at his word. 

'Twas dark when old Wilmington loomed like a dream. 
And they swam through the shallows of Brandywine 

stream ; 
The ships on the Delaware plainly in sight. 
But eerie and strange in the gathering night. 
He galloped through Chester with rollicking song, 
"God speed!" cried they all, as he thundered along. 

Four days and four nights had he ruthlessly sped. 
By horse, boat, and horse again, forging ahead; 
Scarce stopped he to sleep, but drove on like blind fate; 
Oft ate as he rode, for his news could not wait; 
Tens of thousands were longing, as keen as could he. 
For word of war ended and the Colonies free. 

'Twas just after midnight, on a mare strong and fleet. 
He rode swift over Schuylkill and down Market street. 
Philadelphia slumbered beneath peaceful roofs. 
The cobblestones echoed the beat of the hoofs; 
Then a-sudden with one dreadful shudder and groan 
His black steed fell dead — but Tilghman ran on! 

"O where is the President, Thomas McKean? 

Dispatches for Congress!" But no one was seen. 

At last came a sleepy watch pointing the way, 

And off Tilghman rushed like a roysterer gay. 

He knocked and he shouted. The watch bade him cease 

And threatened arrest for disturbing the peace. 

40 History op Kent County, Maryland 

But he shouted the louder: "Cornwall is is taken!" 
And at last the deep-slumbering town did awaken; 
Lights flashed from the windows and forth came a throng 
To make the streets gay with their laughter and song; 
And the bell in the State House was rung by glad hands, 
Again sounding liberty all through the lands. 

'Twas a night of rejoicing for the staid Quaker town, 
A great night of hist'ry and of noble renown. 
Cried the ancient night watch, with his lantern and bell: 
"Cornwallis is taken — three o'clock and all's well!" 
And couriers set off for New York and "down East," 
To tell the good news for the Thanksgiving feast. 

Dawn came, and a dozen great cannon boomed forth 
The jubilant news that had come to the North; 
And Congress met early, the dispatches were read. 
And orators praised both the living and dead; 
And they crowded to church and laid by the sword 
With hosannas from thousands of hearts to the Lord. 

And gallant Tench Tilghman, the hero of all, 
Was feted in homes and high honored in hall; 
Congress voted him thanks, a great sword chased with 

And the noblest black steed with accoutrements bold; 
And America ne'er in its patriot pride 
Shall forget his good news and his glorious ride! 

History of Kent County, Maryland 41 


'^The Battle of Caulk^s Field." 

This Battle Was Fought In The Early Morning 
Hours of Angust 31, ISlJf, on the Soil of Historic 
Old Kent, Near What Is Now Knoivn As The 
Well-Known Summer Resort, Tolchester. 

Of the land battles of the war with Great Britain, 
1812-1814, the battle of Caulk's Field was of signal 
importance upon the result of the battle of North 
Point and the defense of the City of Baltimore 
(September 12, 1814). The war had been in prog- 
ress nearly two years and neither country had been 
able to force its conclusion. 

Wearying of the rather desultory fighting, at last 
Great Britain determined to make a final effort to 
terminate the struggle with the United States. In 
August, 1814, she directed her war vessels to again 
enter the Chesapeake Bay. The ^^A.nnual Register" 
of 1814, a British publication, says : ''The opera- 
tions of the British Armaments on the coast of the 
southern American States had hitherto been on a 
small scale and calculated rather to alarm and irri- 
tate than to produce any considerable effect — but in 
this year the resolution was taken of striking some 
important blow in these quarters." Tactics in that 
war were similar to those of earlier date and Eng- 
land's policy of burning the defenseless shore towns 
and villages, as well as the pillaging of farms that 
laid along the water courses, was expected by the 
American citizens and soldiers at that time. 

42 History of Kent County, Maryland 

The previous year the British had burned Havre 
de Grace and Frenehtown at the head of Chesapeake 
Bav. Thev then went into the Sassafras River and 
burned both Georgetown and Frederiektown — inci- 
dentally bringing to light the heroism of Kitty 
Knight, which is herein fully told. 

The Maryland forces were preparing to defend 
the city, and soldiers were being drilled throughout 
the State with the expectation of going to the aid 
of Baltimore's defenders when they were needed. 
Across the Chesapeake on the Eastern Shore, bodies 
of volunteers were camped ready to move at a mo- 
ment's notice. In Kent the Twenty-first Regiment 
of Maryland Militia under Col. Philip A. Reed was 
encamped at Bellair, now known as Fairlee, a little 
village about five miles from the bay shore and about 
seven miles west of Chestertown. The regiment con- 
sisted of five companies of infantry, one cavalry and 
one artillery company, in all just 174 men. They 
had five pieces of artillery and were fairly well 
equipped with guns, pistols and swords, but had only 
twenty rounds of ammunition for each man. It is 
needless to say that Colonel Reed was kept posted 
by the citizens of the county, and he quickly received 
news from the bay-shore farms whenever a strange 
sail was seen out on the waters of the Chesapeake. 

Late Saturday afternoon, August 27th, news 
reached Colonel Reed that a frigate was headed up 
the bay about abreast of Swan Point, and with her 
were two smaller vessels. A strong southerly breeze 
filled their sails and they came bounding up the 
Chesapeake over the white caps presenting a beauti- 
ful sight. This ship was the "Menelaus," com- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 43 

manded hy Captain Sir Peter Parker, Bart. She 
carried iu addition to lier regular cre\\' about one 
hundred and twenty soldiers. She ^vas armed with 
thirty-eight guns — only six less than our then 
famous warship '"Constitution." 

That Sir Peter Parker was ordered to make a 
''diyersion'' on the Eastern Shore is yeritied by the 
following extract from a letter to the Admiralty 
written September 1st, 1814, by Vice-Admiral Coch- 
rane, then on board the flagship "Tonnant" in the 
Patuxent Riyer. ''Captain Sir Peter Parker on the 
'Menelaus' with some small yessels was sent up the 
Chesapeake aboye Baltimore to divert the attention 
of the enemy in that quarter." 

The most important part of ''diyerting the atten- 
tion of the enemy" Ayas to preyent the troops from 
crossing the bay to the assistance of Baltimore. 
Captain Sir Peter Parker was ordered to capture 
when possible the small bodies of American soldiers, 
to burn the farmhouses along the bay shore and to 
harass the people in eyery possible way. 

Following the instructions of his superior officer, 
he brought his yessel to anchor late Saturday night 
off the mouth of Fairlee Creek. Sunday morning, 
August 28th, Captain Parker landed about one hun- 
dred men on the farm known as "Skidmore," then 
owned by Mr. John Waltham, where they burned 
eyery building on the farm, together with all the 
wheat in the granary, as well as in the stacks in the 
fields. According to a letter written from Chester- 
town on September Gth, 1811, to the ''Weekly Star," 
published in Easton, Talbot County, Maryland, (a 
copy of this old paper can be seen in the library of 

44 History of Kent County, Maryland 

the Maryland Historical Society) Mr. Waltham sus- 
tained a loss of eight thousand dollars. On the fol- 
lowing Tuesday morning, August 30th, the farm be- 
longing to Richard Frisby, Esq., then living in 
Baltimore, was raided and buildings burned. His 
farm of 422 acres in Kent County just north of 
Fairlee Creek was part of the grant known as "Great 
Oak Manor." He sustained a loss of not less than 
six thousand dollars. 

That night the "Menelaus" dropped down the bay 
and anchored off the shore about a mile north of 
the farm on which Tolchester Beach is now located, 
abreast of "Chantilly," the farm recently owned by 
Captain William I. Rasin. The day had been hot 
and sultry and the ship's crew as well as the ma- 
rines welcomed the cool evening breezes off the bay 
as the vessels swung to their anchors. 

Captain Parker had watched from the deck of the 
''Menelaus" the golden path on the waters of the 
Chesapeake that led straight out to the great red 
orb — had watched with thoughtful gaze the great red 
sun set behind the hills of the Western Shore. His 
thoughts were of home and loved ones. Far away 
in his home in England his wife and three little sons, 
Peter, Charles and George, were looking forward to 
his return to them. When Sir Peter was twenty-two 
years of age (in 1809) he had courted and married 
Marianne, second daughter of Sir George Dallas, 
Bart. To her he now sat down and wrote : 

"H. M. S. Menelaus, 

August '60, 1814. 
My Darling Marianne: 

I am just going on desperate service, and entirely depend 
upon valor and example for its successful issue. If any 

History of Kent County, Maryland 45 

thing befalls me, I have made a sort of will. My Country 
will be good to you and our adored children. God 
Almighty bless and protect you all — Adieu, most beloved 
Marianne, Adieu! 

Peter Parker. 
P. S. I am in high health and spirits." 

That he had a premonition tliat his end was near 
is borne out by this very touching letter to his wife. 
Certain are we that he realized tlie risk he was tak- 
ing, and as certain are we that he did not shirk what 
he regarded as his duty. He had been told by one of 
the negroes on Mr. Frisby's farm that morning that 
about two hundred militia were encamped behind a 
woods about a half mile inland from where his vessel 
lay at anchor. The negro intentionally misled them 
as the troops under Colonel Reed were five miles 
away ! Sir Peter Parker determined to surprise and 
capture this body of soldiers later in the night. It 
has recently been stated in one of the weekly papers 
printed in Chestertown that Sir Peter Parker made 
the statement on leaving the vessel that night that 
he would eat his breakfast in "Chestertoivn or hell." 
This statement is entirely without foundation and 
is an unwarranted aspersion on the character of the 
man. There is no historical evidence that he even 
thought of attacking Chestertown. Captain Sir 
Peter Parker, his chief officer, Henry Crease, and his 
Lieutenant Pearce together discussed that evening 
the proposed attack on the American camp. They 
formed their plans and determined to w^ait until 
after midnight to land the soldiers and seamen on 
the shores of historic old Kent. 

The night was hot ; the breeze had died out and the 
mist hung over the water, almost shutting out the 

46 History of Kent County, Maryland 

shore, along which the little waves chased one an- 
other on the pebbles. The '4ap" of the waves and 
an occasional plaintive call of a whippoorwill in the 
woodland bordering the shore were sounds that 
added to the oppressiveness of the night. 

At Bellair, out in the country about five miles 
from where the vessels lay at anchor, Colonel Keed, 
who had fought the British in the War of the Revo- 
lution, discussed with his officers and a few of the 
leading citizens of the county the plans to meet the 
threatened attack of the British. He had sent pick- 
ets to the bay shore to give warning when there was 
a landing made by Sir Peter Parker. 

About twelve o'clock at night one of those pickets 
brought word to Colonel Reed that Captain Parker 
''had landed about one hundred and fifty men" and 
was marching eastward out the road past the north 
end of the "Big Swamp." The moon had risen and 
thrcAV long shadows over the fields, making objects 
in the mist less distinguishable than they otherwise 
would be. Colonel Reed lost no time, but ordered 
the militia to advance at once. They proceeded 
toward the Chesapeake Bay, crossing the ''Tulip 
Forest," ''Eccleston" and the "Everest" farms, and 
reached the ridge on the high ground on Mr. Isaac 
Caulk's farm, just to the south of his house, at about 
half -past twelve. 

To the left of the ridge the main road ran down 
towards the bay. To the right of this road a strip of 
heavy timber stretched away to the west. Immedi- 
ately in front of his position Colonel Reed could see 
the open low land of "Moore's Field," fifty acres, per- 
haps, of cleared land. Here Colonel Reed halted his 

History of Kent County, Maryland 47 

men, forming in position to cover the probable ad- 
vance of the enemy. 

The following letter written by Colonel Reed to 
Brigadier-General Benjamin Chambers gives a very 
excellent description of the arrangement of the 
troops as well as a fair acconnt of the engagement 
and result: 

"Camp at Belle Air. 

3d Sept., 1814. 


I avail myself of the first moment I have been able to 
seize from incessant labor, to inform you that about 
half past eleven o'clock in the night of the 30th ult., I re- 
ceived information that barges of the enemy, then lying 
off Waltham's farm were moving in shore. I concluded 
their object was to land and burn houses, etc., at Wal- 
tham's and made the necessary arrangements to prevent 
them and to be prepared for an opportunity which I had 
sought for several days, to strike the enemy. During our 
march to the point threatened it was discovered that the 
blow was aimed at our camp. 

"Orders were immediately given to the Quarter Master 
to remove the camp and baggage, and to the troops to 
countermarch, pass the road by the right of our camp, and 
form on the rising ground about three hundred paces to 
the rear — the right towards Caulk's House, and the left 
retiring on the road, the artillery in the centre, supported 
by the infantry on the right and left. 

I directed Captain Wickes and his Second Lieutenant 
Beck with a part of the rifle company to be formed so as 
to cover the road by which the enemy marched, and with 
this section I determined to post myself, leaving the line 
to be formed under the direction of Major Wickes and 
Captain Chambers. 

The head of the enemy's column soon presented itself, 
and received the fire of our advance party at seventy paces 
distance, and being pressed by numbers vastly superior, 
I repaired to my post on the line, having ordered the rifle- 
men to return and form on the right of the line. 

"The fire now became general along the whole line and 
was sustained by our troops with the most determined 
valor. The enemy pressed our front; foiled in this he 
threw himself upon our left flank which was occupied by 
Capt. Chambers' company. Here, too, his efforts were un- 
availing. His fire had nearly ceased when I was informed 

48 History of Kent County, Maryland 

that in some parts of our line the cartridges were entirely 
expended, nor did any of the boxes contain more than a 
few rounds, although each man brought about twenty into 
the field. The artillery cartridges were entirely expended. 

Under these circumstances, I ordered the line to fall 
back to a convenient spot where a part of the line forti- 
fied when the few remaining cartridges were distributed 
amongst a part of the line, which was again brought into 
the field, where it remained for a considerable time, the 
night preventing pursuit. The artillery and infantry for 
whom there were no cartridges, were ordered to this 
place (Belle Air). 

The enemy having made every effort in his power, al- 
though apprized of our falling back manifested no disposi- 
tion to follow us up but retreated about the time our 
ammunition was exhausted. When it is recollected that 
very few of our officers or men had ever heard the 
whistling of a ball; that the force of the enemy, as the 
most accurate information enables us to estimate, was 
double ours; that it was commanded by Sir Peter Parker 
of the "Menelaus" one of the most distinguished officers 
of the British navy and composed (as their ofiiicers admit- 
ted in subsequent conversation) of as fine men as could 
be selected from the British service, I feel justified in the 
assertion that the gallantry of the officers and men engaged 
on this occasion could not be excelled by any troops. 

The officers and men performed their duty. It is, how- 
ever, but an act of justice to notice those officers who 
seemed to display more than a common degree of gallantry. 
Major Wickes and Captain Chambers were conspicuous; 
Captain Wickes and his Lieutenant John Beck of the rifle 
corps. Lieutenant Enneck (Everest?) and Ensign Wm. 
Skirven of Captain Chambers' company exerted themselves, 
as did Captain Hynson and his Lieutenant Grant, Captain 
Usselton of the brigade artillery and his Lieutenant John 
Reed and Morgan Brown. Lieutenant Tilghman, who com- 
manded the guns of the volunteer artillery in the absence 
of Captain Hands, who is in ill health and from home, was 
conspicuous for his gallantry; his ensign Thomas also 
manifested much firmness. 1 am indebted to Captain Wil- 
son of the Cavalry who was with me for his exertions and 
also to Adjutant Hynson who displayed much zeal and 
firmness throughout. To Dr. Blake, Dr. Gordon and to 
Isaac Spencer, Esq., who were accidentally in camp I am 
indebted for their assistance in reconnoitering the enemy 
on his advance. 

You will be surprised, Sir, when I inform you that in 
an engagement of so long continuance, in an open field, 
when the moon shone brilliantly on the rising ground 
occupied by our troops, while the shade of the neighboring 

History of Kent County, Maryland 40 

woods under the protection of which the enemy fought 
gave us but an indistinct view of anything but the flash of 
liis guns, tliat under the disparity of numbers against us, 
and the advantage of regular discipline on the side of the 
enemy we had not one man killed, and only one sergeant, 
one corporal and one private wounded, and those slightly. 

The enemy left one midshipman and eight men dead on 
the field and nine wounded, six of whom died in the course 
of a few hours. Sir Peter Parker was amongst the slain; 
he was mortally wounded by a buck-shot, and died before 
he reached the barges to which he was conveyed by his 
men. The enemy's force consisted of marines and mus- 
keteers, was in part armed with boarding pikes, swords 
and pistols, no doubt intended for our tents, as orders 
had been given by Sir Peter Parker not to fire. 

Many of these arms, with rockets, muskets, etc., have 
fallen into our hands, found by the picket guard, under 
Ensign William Skirven which was posted on the battle- 
ground for th(; remainder of the night. Nothing but the 
want of ammunition saved the enemy from destruction. 
Attached are the names of the wounded; and as an act of 
justice to those concerned, I enclose you a list of every 
officer and soldier engaged in this affair. Certain inforn a- 
tion from the enemy assures us that his total loss in killed 
and wounded was forty-two or forty-three, including two 
wounded lieutenants. 

I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

Phil. Reed, 
Lieut. Col. Commanding" 
"Names of the wounded of Captain Chambers' Company: 
John Magnor, Sergeant, slightly in the thigh; 
Philip Crane, Corporal, a ball between the tendons and 
the bone of the thigh, near the knee. 
Of Captain Page's Company: 
John Glanville, a private, shot in the arm," 

The ''Menelaiis" and her two companion vessels 
were withdrawn on Wednesday night, Augnst 31st, 
after taking aboard the body of Sir Peter Parker 
and the wounded men and an anchorage made across 
the bay off Pool's Island, Her acting commander, 
Henry Crease, reported the Caulk's Field engage- 
ment to his superior officer, Vice-Admiral Sir Alex- 
ander Cochrane. 

50 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Under date of September 1st, 1814, lie says in 
part: '^Witli grief the deepest, it becomes my duty 
to communicate the death of Sir Peter Parker, Bart., 
hite commander of His Majesty-s Ship ''Menelaus," 
and the occurrence attending an attack on the en- 
emy's troops on the night of the 30th ult., encamped 
at Bellair." 

''The previous and accompanying letters of Sir 
Peter Parker will, I presume, fully point out the 
respect the enemy on all occasions evince at the 
approach of our arms." 

"An intelligent black man gave us information of 
two hundred militia being encamped behind a woods, 
distant half a mile from the beach, and described 
their situation so as to give us the strongest hope 
of cutting them off and securing the largest part as 
our prisoners, destroying the camp, field pieces, etc., 
and possessing also certain information that one 
man out of every five had been levied as a requisition 
on the Eastern Shore for the purpose of 'being sent 
over for the protection of Baltimore, and who are 
now only prevented from crossing the 'bay by the 
activity and vigilance of the tender and ship's 

''One hundred and four bayonets with twenty 
pikes were landed at eleven o'clock at night under 
the immediate direction of Sir Peter Parker, Bart., 
captain, the first division headed bv mvself and the 
second by Lieutenant Pearce. On arriving at the 
ground we discovered the enemy had shifted his po- 
sition, as we were then informed, at the distance of 
a mile farther. Having taken the lookout picquet 
(picket) immediately on our landing, Ave were in 

History of Kent County, Maryland 51 

assurance our motions had not been discovered, and 
with the deepest silence followed on for the camp. 
After a march of between four or five miles in the 
country, we found the enemy posted on a plain sur- 
rounded by woods, with the camp in their rear ; they 
were drawn up in line and perfectly ready to receive 
us. A single moment was not to be lost. By a smart 
fire and instant charge we commenced the attack, 
forced them from their position, putting them before 
us in full retreat to the rear of their artillery, where 
they again made a stand, showing a disposition to 
outflank us on the right. A movement was instantly 
made by Lieutenant Pearce's division to force them 
from that quarter, and it w^as at this time, while ani- 
mating his men in the most heroic manner, that Sir 
Peter Parker received his mortal wound, which 
obliged him to quit the field and he expired in a few 
minutes. Lieutenant Pearce, with his division, soon 
routed the enemy, while that under my command 
gained and passed the camp. One of the field pieces 
was momentarily in our possession, but obliged to 
quit it from superior numbers. The marines under 
Lieutenant Beynon and Lieutenant Poe formed our 
centre, and never was bravery more conspicuous." 

••'Finding it impossible to close on the enemy from 
the rapidity of their retreat, having pressed them 
upwards of a mile, I deemed it prudent to retire 
towards the beach, which was effected in the best 
possible order, taking with us from the field twenty- 
five of our Avounded, the whole we could find, the en- 
emy not even attempting to regain the ground they 
had lost. From three prisoners (cavalry) taken by 
us we learnt their force amounted to five hundred 

52 History of Kent County, Maryland 

militia, a troop of horse and five pieces of artillery, 
and since, by flags of truce, 1 am led to believe their 
numbers much greater. Repelling a force of such 
magnitude with so small a body as we opposed to 
them will, I trust, speak for itself, and although our 
loss has been severe I hope the lustre acquired to our 
arms will compensate for it." 

This engagement upon the soil of old Kent, though 
participated in by few men on either side, was hotly 
contested, and no one can accuse either side of being 
cowardly. It is reasonable to suppose that the 
American forces expected to find at least two hun- 
dred men on the British vessels under Sir Peter 
Parker. On the other hand, the British captain had 
been purposely misinformed as to the number of the 
American force opposing them. 

Colonel Philip A. Reed, who commanded the Mary- 
land militia at this battle of "Caulk's Field," was a 
native of Kent County and at the time of the battle 
was in his fifty-fourth year. At the age of sixteen 
he had joined a volunteer company enlisted in Kent 
County by Nathaniel Kennard, Jr. This company 
was inspected and passed for service in the Conti- 
nental Army by William Henry on July 22nd, 1776, 
just sixteen days after the signing of the Declaration 
of Independence at Philadelphia. 

Having seen hard service in the Revolutionary 
War, having risen from private to the rank of cap- 
tain, Philip Reed returned to his home in Kent at 
the close of the war, where he entered the public life 
of his county. He was a member of the ''I. U." Par- 
ish of the Protestant Episcopal Church and attended 
services in the little brick parish church at "I. U." 

History of Kent County, Maryland 53 

In 180G he was elected to the United States Senate. 
He served that time one year, and was re-elected and 
served until 1813. In that year he was made a 
lieutenant colonel of the volunteers of the State of 
Maryland, and, as previously stated, commanded the 
Twenty-first Maryland Militia until peace was re- 
stored with Great Britain. Colonel Reed became a 
charter member of the Maryland Society of the Cin- 
cinnati and was elected vice-president of the society 
in 1828. He lived to be 69 years old, dying on No- 
vember 2nd, 1829. He was buried in Christ Church 
Cemetery at "I. U." and a memorial slab marks 
the grave of this one of Kent's most distinguished 

Captain — afterwards known as Judge — Ezekiel F. 
Chambers commanded the first company of the regi- 
ment under Colonel Reed. He was born in Chester- 
town on the 28th of February, 1788, acquired his col- 
legiate education at the famous old Washington Col- 
lege, where he received his degree. In 1808 he was 
admitted to the bar, and soon developed into an able 
advocate. He became identified with the local mili- 
tary organization and was a loyal and capable 
soldier, rising, as I have already stated, to be captain 
of his company at the age of twenty-six. 

At the election of 1824 he was sent to the upper 
house of the Maryland Assembly. The legislature of 
1828 elected him United States Senator, to which 
office he was re-elected in 1832. The following year 
Yale Universitj^ conferred upon him the degree of 
L. L. D. To fill a vacancy occurring upon the bench 
of the Court of Appeals, he was appointed Chief 
Judge of that body in 1834, which place he retained 

54 History of Kent County, Maryland 

until 1857. Owing to ill health he was forced to 
decline the portfolio of Secretary of the Navy, 
offered to him by President Fillmore at that time. 
The famous old Bedingfield Hands Mansion, facing 
the Chester Eiver, in Chestertown, became the home 
of Judge Chambers. Here he died in 1866. This 
beautiful example of Colonial architecture is now 
the home of Mr. Wilbur W. Hubbard. 

Joseph Wickes was second in command, with the 
rank of Major. He was a brother-in-law to Captain 
Chambers, and from him was descended two of 
Kent's prominent men, Judge Joseph A. Wickes, and 
his brother. Judge Pere L. Wickes of Baltimore. 
Col. Joseph L. Wickes of Baltimore and Lewin W. 
Wickes of the State Tax Commission are also de- 

Time will not permit reference to the other men 
who took part in the defence of old Kent; we will 
let this suffice at this time. It is, however, proper 
to speak of the distinguished British officer who was 
killed in the Battle of Caulk's Field. As has been 
stated, his body was taken aboard the "Menelaus," 
and as soon as possible taken to Bermuda, and there 
buried with military honors on October 14th, 1814. 
The following Spring his body was taken up and 
carried to England, where on the 14th of May, 1815, 
it was placed in the Parker family vault at St. Mar- 
garet's Church, Westminster. While the ceremonies 
took place at the early hour of six in the morning, 
many notables of the British Government were 
there, to show their respect for the memory of this 
distinguished citizen and soldier. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 55 

Caiilk's Field farm was in possession of Mr. Isaac 
Caulk at the time of the battle. He had inherited 
the property. It was part of a tract known as 
''Arcadia," which was granted as 1,000 acres to 
Michael Miller, one of the first vestrymen of old 
St. Paul's Church, Kent County. This particular 
part of "Arcadia" had belonged to Isaac Caulk's 
uncle, John Moore, and upon the death of Mr. 
Moore, in August, 1812, the property became Isaac 
Caulk's. The War Department records at Washing- 
ton call the engagement the "Battle of MoorefieM' 
or "CaiiWs Field." It is also thus spoken of in 
"Niles' Register." The bricks in the gable of the 
old Caulk's Field House show that it was built in 
1713. It is one of the oldest buildings now stand- 
ing in Kent, and is now owned by Mr. E. J. Watson. 

On the initiative of the late Rev. Chris. T. Den- 
roche, in 1902, then rector of St. Paul's Parish in 
Kent, a handsome granite battle-marker was placed 
beside the main road that leads from Chestertown 
to Tolchester, on ''Caulk's Field." Assisting Mr. 
Denroche in raising the necessary funds to erect 
the marker were Capt. Columbus A. Leary, Charles 
0. Hopper, Fred G. Usilton, L. B. Russell of 
Kent, Col. Wm. M. Marine, James E. Carr, Jr., Mr. 
Thomas Hill and W. H. Gill of Baltimore. 

That there can never be offence given to those 
who by chance should pass that way the monument 
bears the following inscription: 



History of Kent County, Maryland 

List of Soldiers. 

Among the old papers now in the librar}- of the 
Maryland Historical Society we find a "list of offi- 
cers and men who were in the action at Caulk's 
Field on the night of the thirtieth of Angust last 
under Colonel Eeed," in the issue of October 4th, 
1814, of the RepiiWcan Star or General Advertiser^ 
published at Easton, Talbot County, Maryland. The 
names of the companies and the men in each com- 
pany are as follows : 

Of Captain Chambers' Company: 

Ezekiel F. Chambers, Captain 
Thomas Eunick, Lieutenant 
William Skirven, Ensign 

Alford, Aaron 
Bordley, Thomas 
Benton, Benjamin 
Chambers, David 
Chambers, Benjamin Lee 
Crane, Philip 
Coleman, Isaiah 
Coleman, James 
Comegys, Lemuel 
Constable, Robert 
Coleby, Edward 
Dugan, Thomas 
Dunk, Alexander 
Deal, Samuel 
Elliott, William 
Falls, David 
Floyd, Samuel 
Gooding, James 
Griffith, Samuel 
Haltzman, George 
Hickenbottom, James 
Herbert, Zabedel 

Haley, James 
Jones, John 
Kennard, Richard 
Kennard, Thomas J. 
Kemp, John (drummer) 
Lassell, William S. 
Lasell, William C. 
Magnor, John (sergeant) 
Mansfield, James 
Miller, James D. 
Notts, William 
Rumney, Samuel 
Russell, Theophelus 
Robinson, James 
Toulson, Andrea 
Usselton, John 
Vickers, James 
Vickers, Jesse 
Watts, George 
Wickes, Joseph (4th) 
Wickes, Thomas 

History of Kent County, Maryland 57 

Of Captain Hand's Company: (Captain Hand was too ill 
to serve). 

(Volunteer Artillery.) 
Henry Tilghman, Lieutenant 
Richard S. Thomas, Ensign 

Barnes, Robert 
Brown, James F. 
Copper, Henry 
Eccleston, John B. 
Edwards, James 
Elbert, Samuel 
Gibbs, Joseph 
Hyland, William 
Hague, William 
James, Thomas J. 
Maslin, James 
Middleton, James 
Martin, William 
McGuire, Robert 

Nicholls, Jeremiah 
Parsley, Arthur 
Ringgold, James, Jr. 
Redue, Joseph 
Robertson, Henry 
Seymour, Richard 
Staveley, Wilson 
Tonson, Nathaniel 
Taylor, Thomas 
Vickers, Thomas 
Wilcox, James 
W'ilmer, Lemuel 
, Wilmer, John R. 

Of Captain Wickes' Rifle Corps: 

Simon Wickes, Jr., Captain 
Joseph Brown, First Lieutenant 
John Beck, Second Lieutenant 

Airy, John 
Beck, Peregrine 
Beck, John 
Coleman, Samuel 
Bowling, Eliphar 
Fricks, Richard 
Fellingham, Robert 
Hartley, Thomas 
Hyland, John 
Jones, John 
Kennard, Richard 
Lamb, William 

Pearce, John 
Rolinson, Levin 
Sparks, Bazilla 
Stokes, Horatio 
Smith, James 
Smith, Richard 
Swift, Elisha 
Tharp, James 
Urie, Henry 
Wickes, Samuel C. 
Yates, James 

Of Captain Griffith's Company: 

Samuel Griffith, Captain 
Joseph Thomas, Lieutenant 

Baker, Samuel 
Brown, Hiram 
Crouch, John 
Crouch, James 
Dank, Henry 

De Course, Barney 
Harriss, Jonathan 
Jones, David 
Kendall, William 
Simmonds, George G. 


History of Kent County, Maryland 

Of Captain Hynson's Company: 

Thomas B. Hynson, Captain 
Richard Grant, Lieutenant 

Hague, William 
Love, Robert 
Whaland, Peregrine 

Shaw, James 
Warum, John 

Of Captain Page's Company: 

Samuel Wickes, Lieutenant 
Merritt Miller, Ensign 

Ashley, George 
Alloway, Gabriel 
Beck, Elisha 
Benton, Thomas 
Bryan, Stephen 
Covington, Thomas 
Covington, Jesse 
Coleman, Ezekiel 
Clark, Jesse 
Cleaves, Nathan 
Crouch, Thomas 
Collin, Robert 
Downey, James 
Dudley, Nicholas 
Dunn, John 

Eagle, James 
Frisby, William 
Glanville, John 
Hynson, Benjamin 
Humphrey, John 
Hudson, James 
Ivry, William 
Legg, James 
Miller, William 
Simons, William 
Spencer, Thomas 
Warum, Abraham 
Wickes, William, Jr. 
Yearley, John, Jr. 

Artillery Company 
Aquilla M. Ussleton, Captain 
John Reed, Lieutenant 
Morgan Brown, Lieutenant 

Apsley, William, Jr. 
Apsley, Dulaney 
Carroll, Philip 
Cannon, Edward 
Dugan, John 
Forman, Ezekiel 
Gedley, Joseph 
Hatcherson, James 
Leatherberry, Charles 

Nicholson, Edward 
Pennington, Benedict 
Rasin, Siras 
Rasin, Philip, Jr. 
Stewart, Henry H. 
Ussleton, James 
Ussleton, William T. 
Wickes, Mathias 
Weaver, William 

Part op Caulk^s Field Story. 

The British official list of their killed and 
wounded reported by Henrj^ Crease, acting com- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 


mander, were: Killed, Sir Peter Parker, baronet; 
Capt. J. T. Sands, midshipman ; R. Friar and R. 
Robinson, quartermasters; J. Perren, swabber; T. 
Dorris, sailmaker; G. Hall, ordinary seaman; J. 
Evans, sergeant-of-marines ; W. Hooper, W. Davis, 

Built in 1743 and now owned by E. Jos. Watson. 

R. Johnson, W. Rogers, W. Powell and R. Jones, 
marines, a total of fourteen acknowledged to have 
been killed. The wounded were reported to be: T. 
Fitzmaurice, boatswain's mate, severely ; J. McAllis- 
ter, J. Mooney, seamen, severely ; M. Cullen, seaman, 
slightly; J. Cooper and J. Malcolm, seamen, 
severely; A. McArthur, captain of the forecastle, 
severely; W. Noel, seaman, slightly; T. Taffield, 
quartermaster's mate, severely; M. Halligan, quar- 

60 History of Kent County, Maryland 

tei'-guuuer, slightly; B. G. Beynon, lieutenant-of- 
mariues, seyereh ; G. Poe, similar officer, slightly; 
J. List, J. Haryey, J. Schriber, G. Morrell and W. 
Smith, marines, slightly ; W. Golatham, E. Turner 
and W. Pritchard, marines, and J. Manderson, a 
seaman ; J. Eowe, landsman, and G. Hobbs, captain 
of the foretop, seyerel3\ A total of 28 admitted to 
haye been wounded, some of whom subsequently 

The Americans buried the fallen British by the 
roadside, Ayhere a hedge now grows in thrifty luxu- 
riance. About the year 1830, a small boy (the late 
Columbus A. Learj ) on his way home from school 
saw some Ayorkmen opening a mound on the road- 
side; he stood and watched the dirt-heayers. The 
friends of the dead midshipman had sent across the 
ocean to bear the relics of their loyed ouie over the 
sea. He was identified and his remains conyej^ed to 
England, where he sleeps, perhaps, in one of those 
beautiful country churchyards where sublime still- 
ness hoyers oyer the sward. The earth was thrown 
back and has not since been disturbed. The dead 
Britons haye graves secured against depredations, 
in which they will rest securely until the Judgment 

The late Columbus A. Leary has placed a rough 
stone in the hedge, on a located spot where the 
graves are supposed to be. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 61 


(By Dr. P. Wroth.) 

I sing of War, and all its thousand woes, 
Of bloody wounds and death's convulsive throes, 
Descend, oh Muse, and while thy Vot'ry sings. 
Let thine own fingers touch the sounding strings. 

'Twas noon of night when round the frozen Pole 
His sluggish form the Bear was seen to roll. 
And earth and ocean wide-extended lay 
Beneath pale Cynthia's sleep-inviting ray. 
When hostile barges moored upon our shore, 
And Albion's flag the peerless Parker bore: 
That flag Avhich Gaul's proud Tyrant long had braved, 
Which wide o'er Europe's bloody plains had waved — 
No more alas! for victory won to wave- 
But shroud Sir Peter in his bloody grave! 

Three hundred warriors, a selected band, 
With dire intention by their Chief's command. 
Propelled by sails and oars soon reached our shore, 
Their native Britain doomed to reach no more. 

Thus some dark cloud, driven on by Eurees' blast. 

Which bows the trees and bends the lofty mast — 

Dispersed by rising Zephyr instant flies 

And scowling, darkens all the eastern skies! 

And thus Goliah's boasted prowess yields 

To God's anointed Shepherd of the fields. 

One hundred youths, Columbia's chosen seed. 
Led on by gallant, dauntless god-like Reed; 
With shining muskets gleaming from afar. 
And bristly bayonets, stood the tug of war. 
High in the midst, the bravest of the brave 
(Like Calpi's mound amidst old Ocean's wave). 
Stood Tilghman firm, while loud his cannon roars, 
And ghastly deaths in swift succession pours. 

The battle rages now and warmer grows. 
Each hostile chief with burning ardour glows, 
Here brutal Mars — his garments bathed in blood, 
And there Billona, war's dire goddess, stood; 
When Tilghman rose, and cast his eyes around — 
He spoke — and quick the hills returned the sound. 
"My friends, my comrades, brave compeers in arms — 
Who stand unmoved Billona's dread alarms — 
Mark yonder Chief who towers amidst his friends — 
Whose voice of thunder heav'n's blue concave rends — 
The shield, the buckler of the hostile host — 
See that he falls — and all their hopes are lost." 


History of Kent County, Maryland 

He spoke, unerring Nicols heard the sound 
With fatal speed his cannon wheeled around; 
Out flew the ball— Sir Peter bit the ground- 
Life's purple current issued from the wound! 
Affrighted Cynthia veiled her radiant eyes 
In clouds of Smoke, and fled beyond the skies! 
The polar star and all who walk the rounds 
From the eastern limits to the western bounds, 
Concealed their orbs — and dyed old Ocean's flood — 
Oh! strange to tell, with streaming tears of blood! 

Sir Peter slain, the hostile squadrons fled; 
The woods and valleys groaned beneath their dead! 
Regained their barges — plied the lab'ring oars. 
And fled forever from our blood-stained shores. 

Incidents Preceding the ^^Caulk^s Field^^ Battle. 

The success attending the operations of the British 
during the early part of 1814 encouraged them 

to carry out the determination of the Admiralty to 
strike some formidable blow. The army under Maj. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 63 

Gen. Sir Robert Ross consisted of 4,000 picked 
troops and these were landed in the Patuxent River 
about the middle of August. They marched upon 
Washington, burned Bladensburg as they went, 
and, meeting with only a feeble resistance from the 
American army who were supposed to be defending 
the national capital, the British entered the city, 
burned the President's house, the Capitol, the Navy 
Yard and the vessels therein. This was on the 24th 
day of August, 1814. They returned to the fleet in 
the Patuxent and under the immediate command of 
Vice- Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane proceeded up 
the bay to attack Baltimore. The city was then the 
home of the famous "Clipper ships" and ''privateers" 
that were the persistent foe of the British navy and 
it was determined if possible to capture the city and 
destroy her shipping. That was the '^important 
blow" spoken of in the "Annual Register." 

64 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Burning of Georgetown and Fredericktown on 

THE Sassafras. 

The ThriUing Story of How the Valiant Kitty 
Knight Saved Georgetoicn, From the Pen of Mrs. 
Harriett L. W. Hill, a Scion of One of the Old 
Families of Kent. 

The eyes of one looking for the unique and beau- 
tiful would dance with admiration at the romantic 
story and facts connected with the burning of 
Georgetown and Fredericktown on the borders of 
the Sassafras Eiver during the war with England in 
1812 and 1813. 

This story has to do with the Kitty Knight home 
now standing at Georgeto^ni. 

Miss Kitty Knight was one of the most beautiful 
and accomplished women Kent County has ever 
known. She was a great-aunt to Mr. William 
Knight, of Baltimore, and related to the Knights of 
Chestertown and Cecil County. Miss Kitty was tall 
and graceful, with hair dressed high on her head 
in colonial style and represented as queenly in 
appearance. She attended one of the great State 
balls in Philadelphia during a session of the Con- 
tinental Congress in that city and danced with 
General Washington. 

Mrs. Harriett L. W. Hill has spent much time 
delving into hidden incidents of historv, and savs : 
''The attack is said to have been led by Admiral 
Cockburn. Mrs. Ireland, an old lady (living in 

History of Kent County, Maryland 


Cliestertown Avlieii I was a child) related her per- 
sonal experience at the time the British landed at 
Georgetown, which place was then her home. Great 
was the consternation at the rumored approach of 
the British soldiers. The men of all classes, and 
boys able to shoulder a musket or use any other 
weapon, hastily collected, carrying whatever arms 






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they could procure and marched out of the town 
to meet the foe, and prevent, if possible, his nearer 

Only old men, women and children remained to 
guard their homes and household treasures. From 
time to time, alarming news came of the continued 
onward march of the enemy and the firing of guns 
at length was distinctly heard by the refugees from 
the town as they hastened in search of a place of 

66 History of Kent County, Maryland 

safety. This natural desire to escajje the impending 
destruction of their homes Avas, of course, universal, 
also the wish to carry away with them as much of 
their money, silver articles and other valuables as 
was possible in their hasty flight. 

Mrs. Ireland said that only her small children and 
their nurse remained at home with her; all terribly 
friohtened. She hastened to her stable and har- 
nessed a horse to an old-fashioned, high swung, two- 
wheeled ''gig'' such as was used in those days, in 
which she took her children and their nurse to a 
thick woods about two miles away from the town, 
where she left them together, hastening back to her 
house, catching up her table silver, valuable papers 
and other small articles, returning with them to the 
woods and putting them on the ground near her 
children. Again and again did she make these trips, 
emptying bureau drawers and closets of clothing; 
taking in her small conveyance anything else she 
could, urging her horse to his utmost speed each 
time, thus saving some few of her things from the 
fire which afterwards consumed the town. 

It was a time of great distress to the stricken 
people, who were experiencing only a common result 
of warfare. We can readily imagine the inconveni- 
ence and loss, the burning of even these two small 
towns on the Sassafras Eiver caused the inhabitants. 
These little details help us to realize historical oc- 
currences far more vividlv than the bare mention of 
facts. The story of Miss Kitty Knight, of course, 
has varied in some minor points, from the number 
of narrators. I was told that her youth and beauty, 
added to a stately carriage, made a strong impres- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 67 

sion upon all who saw her iu those da^s, and that 
wheu the British soldier w^eut from house to house 
in Georgetown, bearing the command of his officer 
in charge of the troops for the inmates to vacate 
their homes, as the torch would soon be api)lied. 
Miss Kitty, with head erect and flashing eyes, re- 
plied : "I shall not leave; if you burn this house, you 
burn me with it." This defiant reply being reported 
to the officer, while some of the houses were alreadv 
in flames, he came himself to repeat his command. 
Miss Kitty received him with the same courage, 
reiterating her resolution not to leave. The young- 
officer was struck with admiration at the daring of 
the handsome, high-spirited American damsel, feel- 
ing that she would keep her word and be immolated 
if he persisted in his design of a general conflagra- 
tion. Twice when the attempt was made by British 
soldiers to fire the house Miss Kitty extinguished 
the kindling flame. At last, the officer, in deference 
to her coolness and courage, gave the order to spare 
the Knight house and the one next to it — both of 
which are still preserved. 

In addition to this storv of Miss Kittv Knight's 
vouthful davs, I was told later bv a friend who 
knew Miss Kitty Avell (describing her as continuing 
to wear in her old age a turban in the quaint and 
stately style of a bygone fashion), that twenty-five 
years after our war with Great Britain in 1812, an 
iVmerican gentleman of Kent County, Maryland, 
traveling in Europe, met the same British officer on 
the "riviera" who commanded the attack upon 

68 History of Kent County, Maryland 

This officer, learning that the American belonged 
to Maryland, expressed to him his recollection of 
the incident of Miss Knight's courage saving lier 
home from the torch. Learning that she was still 
living, the officer inquired particularly about her, 
and sent her his sincere compliments. 


Kitty Knight in Song. 
By Rosalie Mitchell Schuyler. 

The beautiful river Sassafras 

Flows onward in its pride, 
Between the level fields of Kent 

And Cecil rolling wide. 

Fair river, on thy sunny banks 

Peach orchards spread their bloom. 
Where red men once chased fallow deer 

Beneath the harvest moon. 

Along the creeks and reedy swamps, 

Where stately cat-tails grow. 
The furry muskrat makes his home, 

And lazily caws the crow. 

The wild ducks seek their feeding place 

Far from the haunts of men — 
The water snipe struts proudly free 

Along the marshy fen. 

Fish hawks, alert upon their nests, 

High up a gnarled old tree. 
Watch, dip, and plunge — a wriggling perch 

Is caught successfully. 

There was a time, there was a time — 

Full four-score years gone by. 
When on these peaceful banks was heard 

The sound of musketry. 

When quiet Georgetown on the hill, 

And Fredericktown below. 
Were menaced by a British fleet, 

A reckless, dreaded foe. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 69 

When loyal sons of Kent arose, 

A gallant little band. 
While Cecil, to repel the foes, 

Stretched forth a helping hand. 

Then valor struggled hard against 

The soldiers of the crown, 
But Cockburn sent his shot and shell 

Upon the helpless town. 

Destruction grim, and ruin then, 
Seemed wrangling in the air, 

And every heart was beating fast 
With terror and despair. 

When suddenly a kerchief white 
Waved o'er the smoking streets, 

The cruel guns a moment ceased 
Aboard the British fleet. 

A maiden fair, with courage bold, 

With spirit pure and high. 
Displayed her flag of truce, and all 

For poor humanity. 

She feared not shell, nor British guns, 

Nor soldier of the king — 
Her kerchief waved above the smoke. 

Her voice aloud did ring. 

"Not for myself I speak," she said, 
"Though all my lands are lost. 

But for two orphan children. 
Whose lives are tempest-tossed." 

"Spare them their little homes I plead," 
Her eyes were sparkling bright; 

They rested on the admiral. 

And — well! they stopped the fight. 

Tradition sings a sweet old song, 

A song of long ago. 
That Kitty Knight, of Georgetown, 

Struck then a fatal blow. 

An officer was vanquished. 

Not by the battery's raid, 
But by a dart of Cupid 

Shot by a fearless maid. 

The British fleet has sailed away, - 

Adown the shadowy past; 
Now, only memories drift along 

The lovely Sassafras. 

70 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Burning of Georgetown and Fredericktown. 

May 6, 1813, the streets of Georgetown and Fred- 
ericktown, her twin sister across the Sassafras, 
resounded with the tramp of British soldiery and 
received a baptism of tire. About a mile below the 
old breastworks at Pearce's Point show where the 
citizen militia made a vigorous defense to the 
British soldiers as they rowed up the river, having 
anchored their ships in the Chesapeake otf the moutb 
of the Sassafras. The valuation of property 
destroyed in Georgetown in this battle was as 
follows : 

Amos Bagwell Furniture, etc. . . $156.UU 

Smith & Bagwell, heirs Shoemaker's 

shops 200.00 

Margaret Downes Dwelling, etc. . . . 150.00 

Denis Donlevy Apparel, etc 3,744.1.5 

Thomas Dollis Furniture, etc.. . . 110.00 

Margaret Jackson Money, etc 1,865.75 

Arthur Nicholson's heirs Dwelling, etc 350.00 

Mary Nicholson Furniture, etc.. . . 150.00 

Joseph Jarvis Furniture, etc 67.12 i/o 

Archibald McNeil House 200.00 

Fanny McNeil Furniture, etc. . . 109.87y2 

Philip F. Rasin Granary, etc 428.75 

Isabelle Taggert ....Furniture, etc 134.56 

Robert Usilton Furniture, etc 119.16 

Mrs. Willson Dwelling, etc 800.00 

William Ireland Stable, carriage 

house, etc 850.00 

Mrs. Bearer Dwelling, etc 850.00 

Mrs. Mary Everett Carriage house. . 80.00 

Jacob Roads .Old house 40.00 

Heirs of Wm. Pope — 

Tavern House Granary 1,000.00 

Miss Staugueses ......Brick dwelling, 

etc 2,500.00 

Arthur Nicholson's heirs Brick dwelling, 

etc 200.00 

History of Kent County, Maryland 71 

Isabelle Freeman Dwelling, etc 800.00 

Mrs. Mary Henney Store house 250.00 

Robt. Elliott Dwelling, etc 300.00 

Stepliany Congo Dwelling 150.00 

Ann Pearce , Kitchen and store 

house 150.00 

William Jackson Kitchen and store 

house 500.00 

Inois Spuran Dwelling, etc 1,000.00 

Heir of Alex. Williamson Dwelling, etc 1,500.00 

Total $19,755.81 

The two red brick houses which escaped the havoc 
in Georgetown still stand side by side near the pub- 
lic road, and are two of the most substantial homes 
in the little town, and are the only historic land 
marks left of the original town. 

The sum total of the property destroyed in 
Fredericktown was i^l5,8Tl. 071/4, making a total of 
135,025.881/4 destroyed by the British. 

72 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Freedom of Religious Thought and Worship. 

Quakers, Catholics and Protestants Arrive Together 
and Feel Free to Worshi]) God in Their Oivn 
Way — Interesting Churches Grotv Up in Old 
Kent — The Name ^'Protestant EinscopaV First 
Given to the Church in Chestertown. 

The little colony which came over from England 
included Quakers, Catholics and Protestants, all to 
have equal rights here. The}^ cut down a tree and 
made a large cross of it, then, kneeling around that 
cross, they all joined in worship and thanksgiving. 
This was the beginning of the Christian Church in 
Kent. Father White was the first priest of the 
Ctitholics Avho began services in a wigwam donated 
by Indians. Every one of these ''villagers" living 
in 30 or 40 log huts and wigwams in the woods en- 
jo^^ed religious liberty, being the only place in the 
wide world where such liberty existed. 

William Claiborne, a member of the Virginia 
Company, established a trading post at Kent Island, 
and brought there, in 1632, the Rev. Richard James, 
who conducted the first services of the Church of 
England within the territory known as Maryland. 

Ancient Shrewsbury. 

On the road between Kennedy ville and Locust 
Grove, in the upper part of Kent County, stands 
Shrewsbury Church. The first house was likely 
built in 1G93. The present house of worship is the 

History of Kent County, Maryland 73 

third built by tlie parishioners, and several years 
after its erection it was remodeled and beautified; 
about twenty years ago a tower w^<xii added. While 
it is the third church that was built on the present 
site, it is quite probable that the first building was 


Founded 1692. 

a very small affair and that it became necessary to 
add to it very soon after the first year of the 
eighteenth century. 

After the enlarging of the church it does not 
appear that any changes in the building were made 
until the old wooden structure gave way for a more 
pretentious one said to have seated 700 persons, 
built in 1729, of brick. This brick church was 

74 History of Kent County^ Maryland 

torn down in 1829 and the present clinrch was 
built in 1832. 

There is reason to believe that the very first build- 
ing erected for public worship within the present 
bounds of Shrewsbury parish stood on the southern 
bank of the Sassafras Eiver on "Meeting House 
Point," on what is now known as Shrewsbury Neck, 
and was there as earlv as 1680. 

From 1680 to 1694 the population rapidly in- 
creased along the south side of the Sassafras, being 
materially augmented by emigrants from England, 
who were granted land in this picturesque and fer- 
tile section of the Province. Roads were cut 
through the county and the travel, which had been 
confined to the canoe and shallop, gave way, in a 
measure, to travel by horse and the old gig or 
chaise. Upon the laying out of the parish it became 
necessary to find a central location for the place 
of worship, and it was for this reason that the 
present site of Shrewsbury was selected. 

The ''Archives of Marvland" show that, "at a 
court held for Cecil County the 22d day of Novem- 
ber in the fourth year of their Majesties' Eeign, etc., 
Anno Dom 1692," the following Commissioners w^ere 
present: Capt. Charles James, Col. Casperus Her- 
man, Mr. William Ward, Mr. John James, Sr., Mr. 
Humphrey Tilton, Mr. Henry Eigg and Mr. Wil- 
liam Elmes. 

There were four more of the Commissioners who 
did not attend this meeting, at which the important 
business of dividing the county into parishes was 

History of Kent County, Maryland 75 

Two Parishes Are Laid Out. 

When the ''Act of Establishment'- was passed by 
the Assembly those of the Protestants who were 
''Freeholders/' together with the Commissioners of 
Cecil Conntv, met Xovember 22d, 1G92, at the conrt- 
house on the Elk River and -laid out and divided 
Cecil County into two parishes. That is to say, 
one for Worton and South Sassafras Hundreds, and 
the other for North Sassafras, Bohemia and Elk 

Worton and South Sassafras (afterwards Shrews- 
bury) parish Avas bounded on the north and west by 
the Sassafras Eiver and the Chesapeake Bay and 
verv probablv extended as far south as Worton 

ft- X ft/ 

Creek. The southern boundarv is vet unknown, but 

ft- e, / 

doubtless a line drawn in an easterly direction from 
Worton Creek to the Chester River, to the vicinity 
of the present site of Chestertown, divided this 
parish from that of St. Paul's in Kent. 

On March IS, 1697-8, a petition was sent to the 
Assembly at Annapolis asking for a better division 
of the two parishes ; and on April 3, 1698, an Act 
of Assembly (Chapter 5) was passed authorizing 
the running of the division line between St. Paul's 
and Shrewsbury parishes nearly parallel to the old 
line, but about three miles farther to the north. 

This latter line began at the crossing of a branch 
of Morgan's Creek east of William Bateman's house 
and runs to the head of a branch of a creek issuing 
out of the bav called Churn Creek. Bv reference 
to the land record of Kent County, we find that the 
line began where the main road from Chestertown 

76 History of Kent County, Maryland 

to Kennedy ville no AY crosses the stream at the foot 
of Goose Hill. From there it ran northwest to the 
stream that crosses the road leading from Hanes- 
Yille to Still Pond, jnst south of where Christ 
Church "I. U." now stands. 

This line also serYed as the southern boundary of 
Cecil County until, by Act of Assembly (Chapter 3) 
in 1706, the Sassafras RiYer was made the southern 
boundary of that county. Prior to this time the 
present county of Kent was diYided into parts of 
two counties, the upper part being in Cecil and the 
lower a XJart of the old ''County of Kent." The resi- 
dents were to attend court of the farther side of the 
Chester and Sassafras RiYers. On June 8, 1692, the 
folloAYing petitions were sent to the Assembly : 

"A Petition preferred by the inhabitants of Kent 
County on the north side of Chester RiYer praj^ing 
that if the Island of Kent be separated from them 
into a countY of itself a reasonable number of the 
inhabitants of the south side of the Sassafras RiYer 
may be added to them ;" also : 

"A Petition by the inhabitants of the south side of 
tlie Sassafras RiYer in Cecil County setting forth 
that their court being held on the north side of 
the said riYer to their great damage, incouYenience 
and hazard in bad weather, pray, therefore, to be 
joined to Kent County in the manner as themselYCS 
the inhabitants of Kent County on the north side of 
Chester RiYer haYC prayed." 

Although these petitions were made in 1692, it 
was the misfortune of these people to haYe to endure 
the hardships for more than 14 years, the line 
between the two counties remaining unchanged until 

History of Kent County, Maryland 77 

in 1706 Gov. John Seymour induced the Assembly 
to act. 

It is quite possible that when the two parishes of 
St. Paul's and Shrewsbury were first laid out, the 
Commissioners haying the matter in charge ran the 
line from Worton Creek to the Chester Eiyer, 
because this may haye been the dividing line (prior 
to 1674) bietween Baltimore County on the north 
and the ''County of Kent" on the south. The 
''Archives of Maryland," Browne, Vol. 2, page 318, 
state that at the session of the Assembly on Tues- 
day, October 17, 1671, "This House will consent to 
the Bill of Ferries, provided that a ferry may be 
kept — over Chester River from Baltimore County," 
thus indicating that the Chester River was a 
boundary of Baltimore County, and it is also very 
probable that this has reference to the ferry that 
crossed the river at the present site of Chestertown. 

78 History of Kent County, Maryland 


St. Paul's Church, Kent County, Maryland. 

Built ill 1113, It Is the Oldest Building in the State 
Used Continuously as a Place of Worship— The 
^Vestry House'' Was Built in 1116. 


Previous to the foimdation of St. Paul's parish, 
there is evidence of a church building on Eastern 
Neck in 1GU3. It is supposed to have been some- 
where near what was known as Xew Yarmouth. 
The town of New Yarmouth was built upon land 
purchased of Major Thomas Ringgold, b}^ a man 
named Tovev. Tovev bought a hundred acres of the 
tract of land called Huntingfield, which is stretched 
across and to the south of Eastern Neck. In 1838 
the farms of that tract belonged to George W. 
Wilson, Esq., and others. Visitors to this locality 
found the remains of a wharf, covered with rubbish, 
and also manv stones which were not native to 
Maryland, but which had been brought in ships, as 
ballast, from England; said ships returned to Eng- 
land having tobacco as chief cargo. The stones had 
been used to pave the approach to the wharves, and 
for other i:>urposes. In 1838 Thomas Browne owned 
this land. New Yarmouth was, in its dav, a com- 
mercial center, and a port of customs entry; the 
court sat there, and ther-e the King's justices met. 
In a short time, and to meet the convenience of 
the northern trend of the settlers, and when the 
parish of St. Paul's was founded by law, the church 
site was moved from this New Yarmouth locality to 

History of Kent County, Maryland 79 

the place it now occupies at the head of ^'Broadnox 

The first vestry meeting- of St. Paul's Parish was 
held in the house of Mr. Thomas Joce, of New Yar- 
mouth, on or immediately after 30th January, 1693. 


The early vestry meetings w^ere held in the houses 
of Mr. Michael Miller, of Lankford's Bay, Mr. 
Thomas Joce, of New Yarmouth, and of Mr. Simon 

After several efforts on April 15, 1695, the Vestry 
agreed with Mr. Daniel Norris to build a church 40 
feet long and 24 feet wide. The church was built 
upon a parcel of land belonging to Michael Miller, 
being part of the land called Arcadia lying at the 

80 History op Kent County, Maryland 

head of ^'Broadnox Creek," for 2,000 pounds of 

It would appear, then, that in 1707 there were two 
buildings or churches, one built as a Parish Church 
of St. Paurs, on ^'Michael Miller's land," the other 
built "adjacent to the Parish Church of St. Paul's," 
on two acres from Charles Kinggold for which he 
got 500 pounds of tobacco. 

But of the church before mentioned as having 
been built by Mr. Daniel Norris, it was not finished 
according to contract; for the Yestry sued Mr. Nor- 
ris for his unfulfilled contract, and on ]yovembei' 
27, 1707, obtained judgment against him for 4,073 
pounds tobacco and 299 pounds for costs of suit, 
though he (Mr. Daniel Norris) gave a receipt on 
6tli February, 1696, in full for x)aynient for building 
the church. 

May 10, 1711, Eev. Alexander Williamson, an 
Orthodox minister of the Church of England, was 
sent certified and recommended b}' the Eight Hon. 
and Rev. Father in God, Henry, Lord Bishop of 
London, to officiate within this province. 

At a meeting of the Vestry at the Parish Church 
of St. Paul's in Kent County, August 27, 1711: 
Rev. Mr. Alex. Williamson, Mr. Wm. Scott, Capt. 
Edw'd Scott, Mr. Wm. Harris, Capt. Jas. Harris, 
Mr. Wm. Frisby, Sr., contracted with Mr. Jas. Har- 
ris, as undertaker, to build a church for the use of 
this Parish of St. Paul's, in Kent County, 40 feet 
long in the clear and 30 feet wide in the clear ; to be 
16 feet from the ground. 

Mr. James Harris, William Pott and James Smith 
gave bond to the Vestrymen in one hundred and 

History of Kent County, Maryland 81 

fifty thousand pounds of good, sound, merchantable 
leaf of tobacco, and cask to contain the same, for the 
completion of their contract. 

The Vestrymen gave bond to Mr. James Harris 
for 140,000 pounds of good, sound, merchantable 
leaf tobacco, on behalf of St. Paul's Parish, for the 
due performance of their agreement. At a meeting 
of the Vestry on 2d February, 1713, Capt. James 
Harris having complied with his obligation to the 
Vestry about building the Church, made his delivery 
of the church and took up his bond. A tax of ten 
pounds of tobacco on each tax-payer was continu- 
ally levied each year, pursuant to an Act of Assem- 
bly, for repairing, beautifying, or building churches. 
In 1717, 20th November, the Vestry of St. Paul's 
Parish met in the court house in Chester Town. 

The Vestry House was built in 1776, for 20,000 
pounds of tobacco. 27th October, 1800, the Kev. 
George Dashiel held services at St. Paul's only every 
other Sunday; but what he did, or where he went, 
on the other Sundays, is not said. On 27th October, 
1800, there occurs the first mention of dollars, where 
a necessary 50 dollars is to be raised to do the 
repairs of the church that must be done immedi- 
ately. 11th May, 1801, Simon Wilmer is elected as 
lay delegate to the convention at Baltimore. 27th 
May, 1801, William Voss rented the Vestry House 
for a school house at three pounds per annum, Mr. 
Voss to keep the house in repair and mend at all 
times any broken windows. 

In 1812 St. Paul's Church was used as a barracks 
for the troops, during some time of the war of that 
date with England. Captain Scott, who was mater- 

82 History of Kent County, Maryland 

nal grandfather to Mrs. George Jessop (nee Maria 
Harris), Avas quartered there. 

26th November, 1843, the church was repaired. It 
was consecrated to the service of Almighty God by 
the Eight Rev. William Rollinson Whittingham, 
Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland. The Rev. 
Thomas B. Flower, Rector; Thomas Miller, Wm. 
B. Wilmer, Jamjes P. Gale, James F. Browne, James 
Browne, Horatio Beck, x\lex. W. Ringgold, Henry 
W. Carvill, Vestrymen; J. N. Gordon, Sr., Register; 
Thomas Miller, Esq., Delegate to Convention. 

January 10, 1845, G. C. Griffith was made sole 
supervisor of the cemetery. Ordered that no 
separate inclosure should be made for any grave. 
At this time St. Paul's owned a slip of land of an 
acre, more or less, lying between the main road and 
Dr. Houston's land, beginning at a boundary of 
Houston's land, on the Bellair road, and running on 
with Houston's land to the Rock Hall road. Said 
slip of land was afjpropriated for a Sexton's House. 
The Yestry voted in 1878 that it meet once a 
month regularly and any member not attending or 
even fifteen minutes late, to be fined |1. That 
Vestry meant business! 

Pews were first let by lot, then in 1862 the rent 
amounted to nearly |500. From 1862 they were 
sold to the highest bidder. Pews were made free on 
the 1st of May, 1870, and again levied in 1872. 
Since 1887 it has been supported by voluntary con- 
tributions and subscriptions. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 83 

Old St. Paul's Cemetery. 

Between nature's grand provision and art's care- 
ful supply, this cemetery of St, Paul's is second to 
none for quiet grandeur and exquisite beauty. It 
is situated on the summit of a gentle slope, with 

the sacred spot at l u. church— big oak. 

a pretty, bright stream of water at the foot of the 
hill, while the dear old church, at its brow, rises 
from its 200 years of foundation in a call of peace 
and rest with God. Gi'^at giant oaks make the 
scene majestically beautiful from the hand of nature, 
and art has done her part in promoting most sweet 
loveliness. The tree tops of the great giant oak trees 
tower their lofty heads as reaching for the skies, 
and stretch out their tops as fingers ever pointing 
heavenward. Their great lower limbs reach out 

84 History of Kent County, Maryland 

their wondrous length in unusual size and strength, 
as though topical of the great loving arm, of the 
Good God, stretched out over His own Sacred Acre, 
in merciful care of His faithful departed holy dead. 
Hosts of evergreen and other trees and shrubs are 
in irregular beaut}- all around the grounds. The 
graves are all neat and well-cared for, the walks 
clean and hard. Flowers in abundance adorn the 
scene and bright green grass everywhere colors and 
closely covers the whole cemetery. For many years 
it was under the managment of the late Thomas W. 
Skirven and now his son occupies the same position. 
The oldest stone-marked grave has inscribed on its 
foot-stone : 

Here lies ye body of Daniel Coley. 
He departed this life Oct. ye 20, 112^. 
Cut by John Godfrey. 

The head-stone is as follows : 

Behold & see now here I lye 
As you are now so once was I 
As I am now so must you be 
Therefore prepare to follow me. 

The next oldest has : "Here Ives ve Bodv of Even 
Evans. He departed this life June ye 30, 1735." The 
next is of Benjamin Vickers, Esq., 1790. There are 
a number of very old graves, Avith rough head and 
foot-stones, but which bear no inscription at all. 

(The Rev. Chris. T. Denroche, rector of this church, 1893, 
issued a Souvenir History of the Parish of St. Paul's for 
the Bi-Centennial Celebration of its foundation in 1693, 
to whom we are indebted for much of the above informa- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 85 


Emmanuel Protestant Episcopal Church — 


The Act of the General Assembly of Maryland, 
through which the present Episcopal Church was 
erected, was passed in ITGS, with an appropriation 
attached, in addition to five hundred pounds in cur- 
rency subscribed by the people for the purpose of 
erecting a chapel in Chestertown, in place of the old 
church. For greater convenience, the act read that 
it should be erected on a part of the public court 
house ground, 90 feet on High street and 120 feet 
on Cross street. The provision in former acts not 
proving sufficient, another act was x>assed in 1770, 
assessing three hundred and sixty pounds currency 
on the parish, to be applied by the trustees for the 
finishing of the chapel and enclosing the burying 

In June, 1781, the war being over, the Rev. Dr. 
Smith, the President of Washington College, called 
a meeting of the Episcopal clergymen who could be 
found in different parts of the country, to meet at 
Washington College, for the purpose of organiza- 
tion; but on account of the small attendance noth- 
ing was effected. Another meeting was called and 
due notice served on the clergy to meet in the chapel 
at Chestertown the following October. At this 
meeting the name Protestant Episcopal Church was 
adopted as the name of the church, under which 
name the convention met in May of the following 
year at Bordentown, N. J. It had previously been 


History of Kent County, Maryland 

known as the Church of England. Emmanuel 
Church is the local name. The rectory, on Queen 
street, was purchased in March, 1866, of John 
Greenwood, for |3,500. 

The present church building, of itself, has an 




interesting history. The brick of which it is con- 
structed came from England, and the mechanical 
laying of the walls — peculiar to the olden time — is 
an interesting feature of the building today. This 
building was at first considerably taller than at 
present, and had a belfry at the west front, in which 
was held the bell which served for so many pur- 
poses of public utility as well as for the call 
to church worship. In 1881 the building was 
thoroughly remodeled inside and a choir building 

History of Kent County, Maryland 87 

erected on the site of the robing room. The former 
interior had galleries on three sides, with choir space 
and organ in the western end. The pulpit was 
located on the northern side and the main entrance 
was on High street. H. M. Stuart was the contrac- 
tor for the improvements, and his most important 
work was to lower the walls, which he did, without 
tearing off the roof. 

The Vestry at that time was as follows : Geo. B. 
Westcott, Dr. W. H. Meeteer,, W. N. E. Wickes, 
Joseph A. Wickes, Wm. S. Walker, G. W. T. Per- 
kins, James A. Pearce. Wardens — N. G. Westcott, 
Thos. S. Wickes. The following comprise the pres- 
ent Vestry : James A. Pearce, i^llan Harris, E. F. 
Perkins, George B. Westcott, Lewin W. Wickes, Wm. 
W. Beck, C. E. Crane, T. G. Wroth. Dr. Henry B. 
Martin is rector, succeeding Dr. S. C. Koberts in 
February, 1900. 

Dr. Roberts, who received the call here in Decem- 
ber, 1871, had a continuous pastorate of twenty-nine 
years. Some of Dr. Roberts' predecessors were Par- 
sons Jones, Gordon, Bradley, J. R. Hubard, A. A. 
Curtis (afterwards a Bishop of the Catholic 
Church), E. H. C. Goodwin and others. 

A splendid addition to this church has been built 
during the rectorship of Dr. Martin. This addition 
is used as a Sunday School room and chapel, and 
has all modern conveniences, such as kitchen, gas 
ranges, etc. A new bell was also bought and placed 
in a new tower. 

88 History of Kent County, Maryland 


The Friends^ Meeting House. 

A part of Kent Comity known as Quaker Neck 
was named in honor of the industrious and even- 
tempered Friends or Quakers. Among these early 
pilgrims were the Trews, Avho settled in Quaker 
Neck in 1668. The representatives of this "colony" 
now living are: Mr. Bartus Trew and his family, 
in Quaker Neck ; Thomas W. Trew, of Pomona ; Miss 
Josephine Trew, of Chestertown; Mr. Joseph Trew, 
near Kennedyville ; Mrs. Virgil Kendall and sister, 
of Chestertown, and Mrs. T. Benjamin Durding, of 
Rock Hall. The original dwelling was a log cabin 
on the shore of Lankford's Bay on the farm now 
owned by Mr. Bartus Trew. The Trew family, or 
at least the largest part thereof, has lived in Quaker 
and Broad Necks ever since the establishment of the 
original homestead. They have impressed their in- 
dividuality upon the community in which they have 
lived for years, and the history of Quaker Neck, all 
that pertains to its development in all walks of life, 
could not be accurately written without the inclu- 
sion of the great part which the Trew family has 
played in that development. Mr. Bartus Trew is 
the oldest living member of the family today. 

The old meeting house which stood for so many 
years at the fork of the road has been torn away, 
but the cemetery was used for some time later. This 
Friends' Meeting House was the center of all re- 
ligious and social activity for many miles, but had 
to give way to the march of time. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 


The commodious brick mansion in which Mr. 
Trew has lived for these many years was built in 
1781, and is, therefore, one of the oldest landmarks 
in the county. Mr. Trew has in his home a grand- 
father's clock which was brought to this country in 



1G68. It is in excellent running order today. 
There are also in his possession sheets made 
from flax grown on the farm and blankets made of 
wool grown on the sheep and spun on the looms in 
the home. These relics are precious heirlooms, and 
are in a remarkable state of preservation. All these 
and more of the links that bind the past to the pres- 
ent mav be seen at the old homestead. 


History of Kent County, Maryland 

Another landmark of Kent is the Quaker Meeting 
House at Lynch. John Lynch^ a Quaker, once lived 
where the village is now, and the meeting house 
stood on land once owned by him. The Quakers 
named this the "Cecil Meeting," because at the time 
(1698) it Avas erected or established it was within 


the bounds of Cecil County. It was a branch of 
the Friends' Yearly Meeting established at Phila- 
delphia by the great Quaker, William Penn, and 
numbered many of Kent's best families as its mem- 
bers. From its records the following names have 
been taken : Turner, Dawson, Corse, Alston, Brown, 
Thomas, George, Hodges, Atkinson, Trew, Maslin, 
Norris, Simmonds, Parrott, Bowers, Easin, Neal, 


History of Kent County, Maryland 91 

Gale, Beck, Jones and Lamb. From this last-named 
family came that great educator of the past decade — - 
Eli Lamb — known to hundreds of men and women 
as "Cousin Eli." 

The early settlers of this neighborhood were: St. 
Leager Codd, William Frisby, William, Daniel and 
Gideon Pearce, Edward Scott, George Warner, 
Charles James, George Oldfield, James Hepburn, 
James Wroth, Edward Blay, John and Edward 
Beck, Nathaniel Styles, George Skirven and Philip 
Kasin. Later came Matthews Howard, Nathaniel 
Kennard, Cornelius Comegys, John Wethered, 
Charles Tilden, George Medford and many others 
whose names appear on the register of Shrewsbury 
Parish or the land records of the county. 

92 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Old "I. U." AND Still Pond — The First Church 


Properlj' belonging to this county of Kent is old 
Christ Church at "I. U./' built in 1765, at the head 
of Churn Ci^ek, within whose walls have wor- 
shipped men and women whose names are familiar 
to all. 

I. U. Church in Worton takes its name from 
initials found on a large boundary stone near the 
church. In early times the natives made a "J" like 
an ^'I/' so that the letters are no doubt "J. U.," and 
may stand for John, Jim or Jonas Ute, Usilton, 
Urie or some other early resident of old Kent. 

The Still Pond M. E. Church is probably the 
oldest continuously organized Methodist Society on 
the Del-Marvia Peninsula. The original edifice of 
which the present is the successor Avas erected some 
time during the Revolutionary War. Bishop As- 
bury, the pioneer organizer of Methodism, estab- 
lished a preaching place here in 1772. The present 
pastor is Ransom P. Nichols. The trustees are: 
F. H. Cornelius, A. J. Hackett, S. G. Rosebery, C. 
P. Norris, R. D. Moore, F. B. Harper, L. A. Ford, 
J. T. Baxter, R. G. Warren, J. N. Bennett, W. L. 
Ford, J. W. Clark, W. H. Fogwell. 

The name of the town — Still Pond — where this 
church is located, takes its name from "Still Pond 
Creek," whose name is ascribed to a very deep pond 
at its source which is said to have never been frozen 


94 History of Kent County, Maryland 

over. This tradition may be taken for what it is 
worth, but in the laud records of early times, as well 
as on the map of Maryland in 1673 by the famous 
Augustine Herman, of Bohemia, the name of this 
creek is spelled ''Steelpone" Creek. 

The First Church in Worton. 

Prior to 1825, as far as we can learn, there was no 
established place of worship in Worton. On August 
5 an acre of land was purchased from William Tay- 
lor and wife for the sum of |50, on which to erect a 
church for the Protestant Episcopal denomination. 
The church was called ''Parson Handv's Church," 
in honor of Rev. G. D. S. Handy, a Protestant Epis- 
copal clergyman, who lived in the commuuit}^ and 
who was its first, and, as far as known, its only 
rector. This church afterwards became St. James'. 
The records show that on June 21, 1832, St. James' 
Church and lot were deeded to the Methodist 
Protestants on the payment of the sum of five dol- 
lars. The trustees at this time were Francis Lamb, 
Emory Edwards, Joseph Kennard, William Copper 
and David Arthur. There were but few members 
and a small congregation. Eev. J. J. Murray, who 
was sent as an assistant to Rev. Isaac Webster, savs : 
''Kent Circuit then embraced Chestertown, Welsch's 
Chapel School House, above Urieville, Quaker Neck 
and Wesley Chapel. St. James' at that day was one 
of the least hopeful of our appointments. I cannot 
recall the name of one male member who belonged 
to the class. My first visit to St. James' was on Sat- 
urday in April or early in May. The country, as I 

History of Kent County, Maryland 95 

drove out in my sulky from Chestertown, seemed 
poor and neglected. Fields without fences, over- 
grown with sedge, dwarf pines, cedars and weeds, 
and other indications of land overworked and left in 
a state of nature appeared where the pleasing evi- 
dences of culture, thrift and comfort are now seen. 
The congregations were small." 

In the midst of wheat harvest Dr. Murray held a 
revival, which resulted in a number of conversions 
and additions to the church. This marked a new 
era in its history. St. James' became a live, aggres- 
sive church, and has remained so to the present day. 

In 1853 Dr. Murray returned to Kent Circuit as 
superintendent, and during the second year of his 
pastorate purposed the erection of a new church. 
The response on the part of the people was so 
prompt and encouraging that work was begun at 
once. Winter came and found the building unfin- 
ished. The following spring Dr. Murray was suc- 
ceeded by Eev. John Koberts, under whose pastorate 
the church was completed and dedicated. The 
building committee was Messrs. John Gale, Isaac 
Parsons, William Vannort, Robert Nicholson and 
John T. Skirven. The contractors were George R. 
Reed and Hyland P. Smith. The dedicatory serv- 
ice was preached by Rev. John S. Reese. The present 
pastor is Rev. H. B. Jester. Samuel Vannort is the 
oldest living member, his name having been enrolled 
in October, 1856. He was the superintendent of the 
Sunday School for many years. The present super- 
intendent is Robert G. Nicholson. 

96 History of Kent County, Maryland 

The Presbyterian Church in Kent. 

Dr. W. S. Maxwell says: "The Georgetown and 
Old JBrick (near E. B. Pennington's, Sr.) Presby- 
terian Churches were built in Colonial days. As 
Upper Kent was a part of Cecil County at that 
time the records are no doubt at Elkton. Those 
churches owned a lot in Chestertown, afterward 
used as a burjing ground b}^ colored people. It was 
on the road leading out to the Dr. Anderson prop- 
erty. The Old Brick was used by the Methodist 
Protestants some time preyious to 1860, when Key. 
William Megee became pastor and they had a good 
congregation for a number of years. The church 
was torn down and material used in erecting the 
present Presbyterian church in Kennedyyille, Ayhich 
was dedicated in 1875. Georgetown Church was 
built in 1872. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Fifteen years after the Christmas conference, in 
1784, the Methodists of Kent, who had increased 
wonderfully in numbers and influence, especially in 
Chestertown and the region round about, resolyed 
to construct a house of worship in Chestertown. In 
endeayoring to secure a grant of land on the public 
square in a day before this stone of Methodism, 
which the builders rejected, had become the head of 
the corner, great opposition was manifested by the 
established church against the project. It was only 
by calling up the bill in a night session, when many 
of its opposers were absent, that its passage was 

History of Kent County, Maryland 97 

secured. Tlie enemies of the new church endeavored 
to avenge themselves when in a majority on a com- 
mittee to apportion tlie ground. The smallest al- 
lotment possible was made on the western part of 
the public square, where was erected the first Metho- 
dist Church in Chestertown. The building stands 
yet, opposite the Voshell House, owned by Harry 
Thomas, son of Dr. Sjuiiuel W. Thomas, and occu- 
pied by the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., 
fraternal orders, John D. IJrie, Esq., and Dr. 

Within these historic walls the voice of the great 
apostle of Methodism, the tireless Asbury, first 
Bishop of the Church, had been heard, as well as 
scores of the illustrious fathers of the church. 
Chestertown then became the center of the great 
Kei^t Circuit, and manv noted events in the church's 
history occurred here. But amid all the church grew 
in numbers and power. A parsonage was built and 
a strong organization formed. In 1868 the church 
in Chestertown felt that its welfare would be en- 
hanced by being made a station, and it was set off 
from the old Kent Circuit, of Avhich it was the 
head. The interest of the circuit in the parsonage 
was bought for |2,000, and all arrangements in the 
separation were amicable and satisfactory to all 

About 1870 the need of a new church edifice was 
realized and preparations for building made. The 
late Thomas W. Eliason, Sr., who had been a pillar 
of the church for vears, was chairman of the build 

f 7 

ing committee. 

98 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Miss T. Bradshaw, a faithful member of the 
church, bequeathed a legacy of |8,000 toward the 
construction of the church, which was the nucleus 
of the building fund. 'Squire John N. Usilton, a 
prominent Methodist, since deceased, contributed 
the present beautiful site, and the present church 
edifice was soon completed, at a cost of about 
120,000. It was dedicated to the worship of Al- 
mighty God, free of debt, in 1877, and in 1878 the 
Wilmington Conference convened in the new edifice. 
A few years ago a pipe organ was erected and dedi- 
cated at a cost of about |2,000. 

The present pastor is T. F. Beauchamp, having 
been sent here at the conference of 1916, succeeding 
Dr. L. E. Barrett, who served as pastor seven years. 
The M. E. parsonage was deeded to Benjamin Price, 
Edw. Einggold, Thomas Stevens, Thomas Baker, 
A. M. Merritt, Nathaniel Wiley and William Hayne, 
trustees, by James Mansfield, on March 9, 1844, and 
included the whole lot through to Cross street. In 
November, 1868, this parsonage was deeded to the 
church for |2,000. 

This building was torn down in the spring of 
1916, and at this writing a new brick structure is 
under contract — Walter T. Pippin, contractor and 
builder. It will cost about |5,000. 

The Board of Stewards are: Joel E. Clements, 
W. B. Copper, I. R. Leaverton, J. C. Davis, J. T. An- 
thony, M. A. Toulson, M. E. Newsome, C. H. Jeffer- 
son, W. C. Peregoy, Thomas S. Bordley, Charles S. 
Hill, J. B. Mclntyre, Prof. Mark Creasy, George R. 
Rouse. Trustees: T. W. Eliason, Prest., James 

History of Kent County, Maryland 99 

Brice, H. H. Klinefelter, M. A. Toulson, John 0. 
Davis, H. E. Perkins, Prof. J. L. Smyth. 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 

Father Villager was the first Catholic priest to 
visit Chestertown. He would write notices and the 
members would meet him at Mr. Thomas P. Dixon's, 
near town. As the congregation grew a larger place 
of meeting became necessary, and Miss Josie Re- 
Due's schoolroom was utilized. For about twenty- 
five years Father Villager served the people, being 
succeeded bv Father Henche, who made occasional 
visits. Then in 1871 came Father Bradford, who 
bought the present church property from Miss Lizzie 
Voss, for |2,800. The old brick house was torn 
away and the present church edifice erected, costing 
|9,000. Mr. Samuel L. Usilton's property was pur- 
chased for a parsonage at a cost of $1,600, and today 
a fine rectory, costing |5,000, is the home of Father 
Urner, the present pastor. This is one of the finest 
church properties on the Shore. 

Christ Methodist Protestant Church. 

The first movement toward the organization of the 
M. P. Church in Chestertown was inaugurated July 
13, 1827, at which eTohn Constable presided and 
James Harris acted as secretarv. In 1829 this or- 
ganization of sixteen persons erected its first church 
here, under the pastorate of Dr. John S. Reese. This 
old whitewashed brick church was built off the main 
street, in a quiet location. In 1859, during Dr. 


100 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Daniel W. Bates' ministry, the old white building 
was torn down and a new one erected of a more 
modern character. The building was dedicated on 
January 30, 1859. Rev. Dr. John J. Murray preached 
the morning sermon and a big revival followed. In 
1878, during the pastorate of Rev. S. A. Hoblitzell, 
the building was thoroughly repaired, and, with a 
small frame chapel adjoining (now Hicks' black- 
smith shop), first built on Queen street and then re- 
moved to Cross street, the church was well equipped. 
In 1887 a lot on High street w^as bought for |3,150, 
and a meeting held to raise money for a new church. 
Rev. W. R. Graham was pastor. A building com- 
mittee, composed of the following gentlemen, was 
appointed: J. K. Aldridge, J. W. Chapman, J. W. 
Lambert, W. B. Usilton, T. R. Hubbard, W. J. Van- 
nort, T. W. Russell, S. F. Smith, J. Harr^^ Simpers 
and William Archibald, Jr. The result of this com- 
mittee's work is before the Avorld, the total cost of 
the improvement being |28,517.55. Milton Baker 
was the contractor and builder, and for years has 
been sexton of the church, caring for it like a mother 
would her child. The bell was given by the "Little 
Folks," and cost |350. The big pipe organ was given 
by the "Young People's Association," and cost 
|2,500. The twelve windows in the audience room 
are beautiful memorials of jeweled cathedral glass. 
These windows are in memory of M. Amanda Chap- 
man, Marceline A. Chapman, Emeline E. Frazier, 
Ann Rebecca Wickes, Elizabeth Walker, Milicent 
Arthur, Katie Plummer, Daniel Collins, John T. 
Dodd, Capt. Richard Baker, John Constable, Wil- 
liam Vannort, C. D. Vannort, David Arthur, Wil- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 101 

liam Bacchus. The central front window is a me- 
morial to the late Senator George Vickers; another, 
''Our Dead" ; another in honor of Superintendent 
William B. Usilton, and one in the pulpit for the 
pastor. Dr. W. E. Graham. Rev. J. M. Gill was 
pastor here in 1896, succeeded by Dr. D. L. Green- 

"r^^C^ P^-, TT 




field in 1901; then came Dr. F. T. Little in 1907, 
and Dr. Graham returned in 1913, followed bv the 
present pastor, Eev. J. L. Ward. An elegant par- 
sonage was erected on the site of the old house, 
corner of Queen street and Maple avenue, in 1896, 
by W. S. and A. M. Gulp, at a cost of |3,800. The 
stewards of the church are : Lewin S. Fowler, J. W. 
Lambert, C. S. Smith, Charles L. Dodd, J. W. Chap- 
man, W. W. Hubbard, James W. Crouch, William 
A. Wheatley, J. D. Bacchus, Fred G. Usilton, A. M. 
Gulp, Robert Huey, Charles N. Satterfield, William 

102 History of Kent County, Maryland 

A. Burke, J. F. Wheatley, William B. Usilton, Jr., 
Walter U. Lusby, Ralph Barnett, J. W. Russell, Wil- 
liam Yansant, T. D. Bowers, C. C. Jones. 

The M. P. Conference met here in 1838, 1857, 1871, 
and in April, 1890, presided over by Isaac Webster, 
William Collier, D. E. Reese and W. M. Strayer, re- 
spectively. An interesting fact in connection with 
the large Sunday School of this church is the super- 
intendency of the late William B. Usilton, who 
served for more than forty years. His son, Fred G., 
was elected to succeed him in 1910. 

Colored Methodist Churches. 

The pride shown by the colored people in having 
worthy places in Kent in which to worship is strik- 
ingly presented in Chestertown. Janes M. E. 
Church, located on Cross street, built in 1915, cost 
over 112,000, while the A. M. E. Church, built on 
College street, cost about |10,000. Both are of 
brick and well equipped. These buildings replaced 
frame structures erected in the early fifties. 

First Sunday School in Chestertown. 

A female Sunday School was organized in 1816, 
with twenty-seven scholars. It was the first Sun- 
day School in the town, its church connection not 
being ascertained. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 103 


ScJiools, Puhlic and Private — Founding of Washing- 
ton College. 

The Hon. James Alfred Pearce, former Judge oL' 
the Court of Appeals, has always felt a warm in- 


terest in the cause of education. After leaving 
Princeton he was a tutor at Washington College, and 
for more than thirty years secretary of its Board of 
Visitors, and now President, succeeding Hon. Jos. 
A. Wickes. For twelve years, from 1879 to 1890, he 

104 History of Kent County, Maryland 

was a member of the School Board for Kent County, 
serving with Sewell Hepburn the elder, and Cor- 
nelius J. Scott, and later w^ith Richard W. Jones. 
In "looking back" at the School History of Kent, 
and more especially of Chestertown, he says : ''If 
any records were kept by the authorities in the 
early daj-s of Kent County, none have been pre- 
served, and the onl}^ available source of information 
is personal recollection and tradition. My own 
earliest distinct recollection of the Primarv School, 
as it was then called in Chestertown, dates back to 
about 1852. It was kept in an old two-story brick 
dwelling standing on the site of Davis & Satterfield's 
present establishment. It was dilapidated and for- 
lorn beyond description, both in itself and its im- 
mediate surroundings. The teacher, for there was 
but one, was Squire James Graves, a former sea cap- 
tain, whose qualifications, though limited, I am sure 
were all that his salary could justly demand. I was 
never a pupil there, but tradition says his discipline 
was strict and severe, and this was a period when 
it was commonly held that the rod was the most 
efficient means of lifting the veil of ignorance, by 
which was meant the learning to read, write and 
cipher, with a little geography. There was no pre- 
tense of systematic grading and little attempt at 
classification. The schools in each county were gov- 
erned by local laws. In Kent County there were 
five trustees elected for each school district by the 
white miale taxables of the district, and these trus- 
tees directed the methods of instruction, employed 
and discharged the teachers. 



106 History of Kent County, Maryland 


•I am informed by one of the older citizens of 
the town that he was a pupil under three teachers in 
this school before Captain Graves, viz., William S. 
Greenwood, Simon Wickes and Jacob Brown, all of 
which taught in the house which stood where the 
house now occupied by Clifton L. Jarrell stands, but 
my own recollection begins with Captain Graves. 
After a number of years he was followed by Charles 
T. Ireland. Next came James M. Vickers, and after 
him in succession, as principals with one or more 
assistants. Professors Hanna, Montgomery, J. W. 
Russell, McBeth, McQuay, Long, William M. Slay, 
Vickers again, Peterson, McNeil, Fallowfield, 
Ebaugh, Topping, Smyth and Creasy. 

"The old system I have mentioned continued until 
the Act of 1865, creating a uniform system of edu- 
cation throughout the State, out of which has come 
the present law, under which great advances w^re 
made in methods of instruction, in numbers and 
qualifications of teachers, and in buildings and 
equipment. But some of the teachers in the old 
schoolhouse were men of sterling qualities, from 
which some of our best citizens received their only 
schooling. Indeed, it should be remembered that 
some of the most distinguished instructors of the 
country were teachers in these early schools, notably 
Professor Simon Newcomb, of Harvard University, 
the great mathematician and astronomer, who, in 
1853 and 1854, was the teacher of the primary school 
at Massey, in this county. 

"About 1867 Jesse K. Hines and I, with another 
whose name now escapes me, were the district trus- 
tees, and under our direction the long one-story 

History of Kent County, Maryland 107 

brick building containing three rooms was erected 
by John T. Dodd on the site of the old house; a 
great improvement on the latter, but wholly inade- 
quate both in plan and accommodations. A few 
years later a large two-story frame addition was 


made to the north end of the brick building, and 
later still, the Methodist Protestant Church, now the 
home of the Enterprise^ was bought and added to the 
ill assorted group of buildings. 

"In 1901 the elegant Grammar School was erected 
by A. M. Culp on the Vickers-Hurtt lot on High 
street, at a cost of |15,000. The Commission com- 
prised Wilbur Eliason, J. W. Lambert, William B. 
Usilton, J. K. Aldridge and M. A. Toulson. 

108 History of Kent County, Maryland 

"In 1915 the new High School was erected on 
Washington Avenue at a cost of |3,700 for lot and 
116,800 for building. A. M. Gulp was the contractor 
and builder. The building committee was Messrs. 
Curtis E. Crane, Thomas G. Wroth, Eben F. Perkins, 
Professor J. L. Smyth and Charles S. Smith. 


"The history of the school since the Act of 1865, 
and especially from the time of Thomas B. Long, has 
been a steady progress upw^ard. It is a far cry from 
the meagre, shabby quarters in which James Graves 
and his little flock toiled and struggled with each 
other more than sixty years ago, to the ample and 
well-equipped institutions." 

The present Superintendent is Professor Jefferson 
L. Smyth. Professor Mark Creasy is the Principal 
of the High School, with these assistants: Misses 

History op Kent County, Maryland 109 

Nettie Gooding, Mamie Carroll, Barbara Willis, 
Susie Roberts ; Miss Nellie Waters, Principal Com- 
mercial Department; Miss Annie Copper, Domestic 
Science; Professor Owen C. Blades, Manual Train- 
ing. Miss Fannie Stuart is Principal of the Gram- 
mar School, with these assistants : Misses Barbara 
Anthony, Edith Harley, Rose Duyer, Emma H. 
Davis, Louisa Urie and Ida Smith. 

Large, modern, well equipped buildings were 
erected in 1915 at Betterton, Millington, Kennedy- 
ville and Rock Hall. The building committees were : 
Betterton — Jefferson L. Smyth, Arthur H. Brice, 
Howard F. Owens, W. Clarence Crew and Harry 
Willis. Millington — J. L. Smyth, John P. Ahern, 
Joseph Mallalieu, Charles M. Hurtt, R. E. Fedde- 
man. Kennedyville — J. L. Smyth, William S. Hur- 
lock, Harry J. Hill, Edgar R. Pennington, and John 
Medders. Rock Hall — C. Frank Wheatley, Marion 
T. Miller, J. L. Smyth, James A. Casey and T. B. 

Provision was made in 1916 for building a 
new school at Galena ; committee — Dr. E. A. Scott, 
Samuel G. Caldwell, Ervin L. Dempsey, John 
Quinn and J. L. Smith. Also one at Fairlee; 
committee — William G. Smyth, T. H. Morris Bram- 
ble, Dr. Frank Smith, Harry C. Willis, J. L. Smyth. 
A colored school in Chestertown Avas also provided 

In 1853 the residence now occupied by Ex-Senator 
William) W. Beck on Water street was occupied by 
Mr. Bassford as a seminary. This school gave 
yearly concerts in the courthouse, and some of the 
prominent families of the town attended this school. 

110 History of Kent County, Maryland 

In the house now occupied by J. Waters Kussell, 
Miss Mollie Usilton conducted a private school. 

The house formerly occupied by the "Brick House 
Club/' on Princess street, was for many years used 
as a private school house, and w^as taught by Miss 
Lottie Spencer, now Dr. S. C. Koberts' widow. 

Miss Josie KeDue for many years conducted one 
of the largest private schools in town, both for music 
and other studies, next to the custom house on 
Water street. 

Founding of Washington College. 

Washington College, the oldest in the State, was 
established by Act of Legislature in 1782, as part 
of the proposed University of Maryland. George 
Washington, then in camp at Newburg, consented 
that his name should be given to the infant institu- 
tion, contributed to its endowment, and visited it 
in 1784. (The amount contributed by Washington 
was 1283.33.) On this occasion the students played 
the tradegy of Gustavus Vasa, in which reference 
was made to him as the Gustavus of America. He 
placed at this time his name on the records of the 
Board of Visitors and Governors, of which he was 
a member. 

The college was based on a flourishing academy, 
with one hundred and forty scholars, under the 
Eev. Dr. Smith and his assistants, into which the 
Free School of Chestertown, established as far 
back as 1783, had previously been merged. The in- 
fant college was organized with all its functions 
immediately on the receipt of its charter in 1782. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 111 

It held its first commencement with six graduates 
in May, 1783, when addresses were delivered in 
Latin and French. 

The original extensive structure, 160 feet in 
length, whose corner stone was laid by Governor 


Paca in 1783, was burned to the ground in 1827. 
The exercises of the college were continued in Ches- 
tertown until 1811:, when the central building of the 
present group was erected upon the old site. The 
corner stone was laid by Hon. E. F. Chambers. No 
degrees were conferred from 1827 to 1849, as the 
institution was at a low ebb, the appropriation 
from the State having been at times Avithdrawn, or 
reduced to an inconsiderable amount. It was only 

112 History of Kent County, Maryland 

by the persistent efforts of the Board of Visitors and 
Governors that its existence was maintained. 

In 1854 two brick buildings were erected, one on 
each side of the main structure. The college steadily 
increased in numbers from 1844 until the breaking 
out of the Civil War. 

In 1890 two residences were built for the prin- 
cipal and vice-principal. 

Iti 1892 through the liberality of the citizens of 
Chester-town, a gymnasium was erected on the col- 
lege grounds. 

In 1896 the Legislature authorized the establish- 
ment of a Normal Department for ladies, and gave 
|5,000 towards its erection. A lot was purchased 
of Mr. John Bell and a commodious building occu- 
pied by lady students, but at the request of the Visi- 
tors and Governors, the Legislature of 1910 repealed 
the api^ropriation for scholarships in the Normal 
Department and appropriated a like amount for 
scholarships for male students in the college. By 
this Act the college reverted to its original position, 
as a place for a "liberal education in the arts and 

William Smith Hall, so named for the first presi- 
dent of the college, was erected in 1906 at a cost 
of 171,000. This building was used as an admini- 
stration building. It was an imposing and hand- 
some structure, but it was destroved bv fire earlv 
Sunday morning, January 16, 1916. A new building 
is being erected on the site of this burned structure 
to take its place. A |50,000 gymnasium was com- 
pleted in 1912. A tract of about five acres of land 
on College avenue opposite the campus was bought 

History of Kent County, Maryland 113 

and fitted up as an athletic ground in 1906 and is 
now known as Wasliington field. The James White 
property on the w^estern corner of the campus was 
purchased in 1915 from Fred. G. Usilton for |3,200 
and is now a part of the campus. No more beauti- 
ful or healthful situation for a college can be found. 
At all times it has clung to high ideals of scholar- 
ship and of character, yielding to the State and 
the Nation a rich return in the training of young 
men for good citizenship. The present faculty com- 
prises James William Cain, President; James Roy 
Micou, Vice-President; Edward J. Clarke, Secre- 
tary; J. S. William Jones, Recorder; A. Sager Hall, 
Professor of Physical Sciences ; Charles Louis 
Townsend, Professor of German and French ; Mar- 
ten Ten Hoor, Professor of Philosophy and Educa- 
tion ; Julio Del Toro, Instructor in Spanish, Mathe- 
matics and Science; J. Thomas Kibler, Director of 
Physical Training. 

the original college building. 

114 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Records of the First Sail Vessel and Early Steam- 
hoating on the Chester River — An Enterprising 
GomjKiny — The First Railroad^ Its Cost, Oivner- 
ship, etc. 

In November, 1825, M. Tilghman advertises the 
schooner 'Two Brothers" to carry letters, packages, 
grain, etc., to Baltimore. He also ran the schooner 
"Independence" from Travilla. 

February 24, 1826, the fast-sailing, copper-bottom 
sloop, "General LaFayette," Robert Constable, mas- 
ter, left Chestertown on Wednesdavs at 9 A. M. and 
Baltimore on Saturdays. "With a good wind can 
make the trip in live and one-half to seven hours." 

The first notice of steamboats is in March, 1827, 
when the steamer "Maryland" is advertised as leav- 
ing Baltimore on Monday at 5 A. M. and arriving in 
Chestertown at 12 M., stopping at Queenstown ; fare, 
|1.50 each way. "Lender no inducements shall more 
steam be employed than is necessary for her 
ordinary voyages." Lemuel G. Taylor was the com- 
mander of the steamer. 

Then came the "Patuxent," Captain Weems. Sail 
vessels advertise a trip for |1.50, and meals; colored 
passengers, |1 and found. 

The steamer "Cambridge" was put on in 1849, 
and competed with the "Maryland," Captain J. R. 
Griffith. The "Osiris" was put on in September, 
and left Baltimore every Wednesday and Saturday, 
returning the same day. The "Hugh Jenkins" was 

History of Kent County, Maryland 115 

put on in April, 1851, and charged fl.OO for the 
round trip. The Eastern Shore Steamboat Com- 
pany, in 1852, gave Chestertown a boat as far up as 
Crumpton thrice a week. The "Wm. Selden," Cap- 
tain John D. Turner, was put on in the summer of 
1852. The "Cecil" also ran here; Corsica and Kent 
Island Avere the only wharves below here. The 
steamer "Arrow" Avas put on in November, 18G0, 
Capt. E. S. L. Young. The steamer "Balloon," of 
the Eastern Shore Line, was put on in 1860. 

The steamer "Chester" arrived in April, 1861. 
Captain Young, of the "Arrow," took command, and 
B. S. Ford, then clerk of the "Arrow," took Captain 
Young's place. H. B. Slaughter was proprietor of 
this line. The "Chester" and "Arrow" ran alter- 
nately, making a daily line from this town. 

Thompson's wharf was built in 1856-7 by Capt. 
James Frizby Taylor. Kuth & Emory bought out 
Hiram Brown in 1854, and Taylor bought from Ruth 
& Emory, and the Chester River Company now holds 

The late Col. B. S. Ford, who had served with the 
late Capt. E. S. L. Young in several capacities of 
purser and captain in Slaughter's line, about this 
time (1865) conceived the idea of forming a com- 
pany, and with the valuable assistance of Capt. E. 
S. L. Young, who was well acquainted with the 
representative men of that time, procured a charter 
from the Maryland Legislature for the corporation 
known as the Chester River Steamboat Company. 
This company purchased the steamers "Chester" 
and "George LaAV," of the estate of H. B. Slaughter, 
and organized for business by electing B. S. Ford 

116 History of Kent County, Maryland 

its president and general manager; the duties of 
which office he ably fulfilled through the struggling 
period of the young corporation's existence, until 
the foundation was laid strong and deep for the 
great success it has since achieved. 


Well does the writer remember the initial trip of 
the ''B. S. Ford." It having been well advertised 
that she would come from Baltimore in charge of 
her first commander, Capt. P. C. McConnor, on the 
3rd, and take an excursion to Baltimore on the 4th 
of July, 1877; the Avharves on the route were 

History of Kent County, Maryland 117 

crowded on the Nation's holiday to greet this Queen 
of the Chester b}' an immense throng of people from 
all sections of the surrounding country; many to 
embark and many to admire her symmetrical beauty. 
This event was hailed as a new era of comfort to the 
traveling public and a marked advance in the busi- 
ness of the company. Alas ! scarcely more than two 
years of the bright new era had passed away when 
the whole State was startled and many homes sad- 
dened by the news of the death of Col. B. S. Ford 
at Ocean City, July 28, 1879. 

On Saturday night. May 5, 1881, the B. S. Ford 
was burned at her wharf in Chestertown. She had 
been off the line for several w^eeks for repairs, w^hich 
had cost about |2,000. The Ford was insured for 
$41,000, and cost when new |75,000. She was after- 
wards rebuilt, and made her first trip to Chester- 
town on Saturday, May 7, 1887, with Capt. John A. 
Clark in command. 

The elevation of Mr. George Warfield, of Bal- 
timore city, to the presidency caused no surprise. 
This gentleman had great experience in business far 
remote from transportation, but like a good mariner 
took bearings before venturing too far, and devoted 
his time and talents to acquiring the experience re- 
quired for his ncAV duties, and rapid progress he 
made in that direction. By a wonderful develop- 
ment of its interests, he proved the wisdom of his 
election to the management of the company's affairs. 
Under Mr. Warfield's administration the steamers 
Corisca and Emma A. Ford were built and the 
Gratitude purchased, which, with the B. S. Ford, 

comprised the fleet. Capt. P. C. McConnor, Mate W. 

118 History of Kent County, Maryland 

S. Taylor and Capt. Jack Anthony with Capt. Wil- 
liam M. Vandike for many j-ears were in charge of 
the fleet. The Chester Elver Company with all its 
boats and tine wharf property were sold to the 

scene along the banks of the chester— 
oysterman's ark. 

Pennsylvania Railroad Company, since which time 
it has been known as the Maryland, Delaware & 
Virginia Steamboat Company. 

Much wharf property has been added to the hold- 
ings of the company and piers and warehouses built 
that are not surpassed by any on the Chesapeake 
Bay or tributaries. This rich section of the East- 
ern Shore is highly favored in transportation and 

History of Kent County, Maryland 119 

mail facilities, and we indulge the hope that the 
great West may yet find an outlet to the sea through 
this peninsula. 

Several times in its history has the company had 
to contend with opposition, but they generally 
managed to get them out of the way before they 
grew formidable. 

On Friday, April 24, 1868, a contract was entered 
into for the construction of a railroad from near 
Masseys, by way of Kennedyville, to Chestertown, 
Bel Air, Eees' Corner, to the terminus on Swan 
Creek, 32.09 miles; also wharf at Chestertown. The 
entire work to be completed for |548,000, of which 
1169,332 was to be paid in cash, |98,640 in Kent^ 
County bonds at par, and the balance in the bonds 
of the company at par. The names mentioned as 
contractors were A. F. Sears, Peter Sanford, Rod- 
man Backus, of Newark, N. J. 


Masseys to Kennedyville $155,272.98 

Kennedyville to Worton 95,218.31 

Worton to Chestertown 64,003.34 

Chestertown to near Fairlee 80,007.(55 

Bel Air to Battershell Hill 48,383.89 

To Deep Landing (Rock Hall) 105,118.83 

Total . $548,000.00 

On Friday, January 10, 1869, it was decided to 
build a railroad on ""the ridge," and on May 15 the 
following directors were elected : Hon. George 
Vickers, T. W. Eliason, Isaac Parsons, J. B. Fenni- 
more, W. B. Wilmer, William Janvier, Abel J. Bees, 
Thomas J. Shallcross, and officered thus : President, 
T. W. Eliason ; treasurer, Richard Hynson ; secre- 

120 History of Kent County, Maryland 

tary, Charles T. Westcott. Bishop & Ferguson con- 
tracted to carry the U. S. mail between M/iddletown 
and ChestertoAvn in a two-horse stage coach. On 
Jnly 23, 1870, the Kent County Eailroad was em- 

W-^ '< J- 

. b^^ ^ -l^Sj-jl^ if ' ^^^' 

/,£.9Z "yU " /*y? 

iC^^^ -^ Ay~ JS 

OWNED BY H. M. BAKER— 1768. 

ployed to bring the mail as far asi Kennedyville, 
and from thence by stage. By this route the Balti- 
more mail arrived in Chestertown at 3 P. M. in- 
stead of 6. In August, 1870, the road had reached 
Worton, and grading to town was begun, Mr. Jack- 
son contractor. Mr. Eliason resigned the presi- 
dency after a short service. J. K. Hines resigned 
as superintendent, and Mr. Owens, of Queen Anne's, 

History of Kent County, Maryland 121 

was appointed. A stage ran from Hall's Hotel daily 
at 6 A. M. ; retiiruiug-, would leave Worton at 1.3U 
P. M., and the fare to Philadelphia was |3.30. In 
April, 1871, the Board of Public Works appointed 
the following directors : Abel J. Eees, Kobt. Nichol- 
son, William S. Walker. A dispute arose, and the 
road was not accepted until a year later. On Tues- 
day, February 20, 1872, the first train arrived at 
Chestertown. On Sunday, March 3, 1872, the train 
was caught in a snow drift, and the Queen Anne's 
engine had to come and get our train out. In 1871 
a big strike occurred, and the mail to Worton was 
carried to Worton on a hand car. On July 10, 1871, 
the road was leased to M. W. Serat, president of the 
company. In 1877 the road was sold at public sale 
at the Yoshell House to Jay Gould, through J. F. 
Bingham, Esq., for .f33,000 and other considerations. 
Col. Fred Gerker leased from Gould, it is said, for 
|1 a year, and B. F. Fleming was made manager. 
Gerker gave it up on April 1, 1889, but previous to 
this he was offered the road for |275,000. He re- 
fused, but E. P. Thielens, of New Jersey, bought it 
at 1375,000. The Jersey Central took |250,000, and 
gave Thielens the balance. The latter w^as to pay 
taxes and keep up the road with his one-third for 
two years, and then the Jersey Central would as- 
sume control. Col. E. P. Stacey was made superin- 
tendent. The present corps of men comprise: Con- 
ductor, J. D. Welch ; engineer, Horace Eeed. The 
train arrives here at 11 A. M. and 7 P. M., two 
trains per day besides a freight train running daily. 
Propositions looking to the extension of this road 
to the bav have been made, but at this time there 

122 History of Kent County, Maryland 

is but little prospect of the same being consum- 
mated. The road bed at one time was finished as 
far as Tolchester, but the company never placed a 
track there and the land is now in cultivation. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 123 


Flourishing Financial Institutions and Their 
Officers — Banks and Loan Association — Kent 
County Mutual Fire Insurance Comimny. 

The Farmers and Mechanics' Bank was incor- 
porated in October, 1849, with these directors: Geo. 
Vickers, George B. Westcott, James B. Ricaud, 
Richard Hynson, Hugh Wallis, William F. Smyth, 
D. C. Blackiston, Wesley Wiley, Daniel Collins, 
Thomas R. Browne, G. O. Trenchard; G. B. West- 
cott, president; S. W. Spencer, cashier. They 
started in the room occupied by C. H. Wickes, Esq., 
and a banking house was afterwards erected on the 
McClain lot. The statement in 1852 showed deposits 
of 115,037.37, and circulation |52,238.00 ; loans, |53- 
891.25. The Kent National succeeded the Mechanics' 
and closed its career in 1885, under the management 
of the late George B. Westcott. It paid handsome 

The Chestertown Bank of Maryland is the suc- 
cessor to the Chestertown National. The Board of 
Directors are William W. Beck, president; Samuel 
Vannort, vice-president; Allan A. Harris, cashier; 
Jesse E. Ireland, assistant cashier; E. S. Valliant; 
James W. Chapman, C. E. Crane, C. H. Price, James 
T. Dixon, Wm. B. Usilton, E. A. Scott, James E. 
Woodall, Jr., Merrick Clements, S. Scott Beck, 
Arthur L. Harris. 

They established a branch bank at Galena a few 
years ago. The capital stock paid in is, |26,575. 

124 History of Kent County, Maryland 

The last statement in May, 1916, showed loans of 
1199,095.75 ; deposits, |490,680.54 and a surplus sum 
of 145,000. The total amount of business was |610,- 

The Second National Bank was organized in 
June, 1890, and opened in the "Kent News Building." 
On February 3, 1891, the bank moved into its new 
building, which cost over |12,000. Its successor is 
the Third National. This bank is doing a big busi- 
ness and meeting the fullest expectations of its 
friends. During the past twelve months this bank 
paid nearly |23,000 to its savings depositors in in- 
terest. Its capital stock is |50,000; surplus fund, 
130,000; total business, |879,789.90. The Board of 
Directors are James A. Pearce, Hope H. Barroll, 
Wilbur W. Hubbard, Adam F. Huey, D. Thomas 
Hurlock, T. B. Durding, L. Wethered Barroll, Geo. 
D. Lofland, Elmer E. Leary, Thomas D. Bowers, W. 
B. Copper. James A. Pearce, president; Hope H. 
Barroll, vice-president. 

The Ivent County Savings Bank was organized in 
July, 1893, and located in the building opposite the 
"Kent News Building." September 1, 1901, they 
mloved into their magnificent new structure. The 
contract price was |11,992. Capital stock, |20,000 ; 
this was the first bank in Kent County to pay in- 
terest on deposits. They all pay 4% at this time, 
1916. The last statement shows total business, 
1537,829.93; surplus fund |40,000. The Directors 
are as follows: M. A. Toulson, president; Fred. G. 
Usilton, vice-president; William F. Eussell, cashier; 
Jefferson D. Bacchus, John D. Urie, James H. 
Baker, Philip G. Wilmer, Lewin W. Wickes, James 

History of Kent County, MxVryland 125 

A. Casey, James E. Hurlock, Charles S. Smith, 
Howard Turner, William F. Kussell. 

The Kent Mutual Loan Association was formed in 
18G9. It was succeeded by the Chester Loan Asso- 


ciation in 1880. The Kent Building and Loan Com- 
pany is its successor. From |500 to |1,000 per 
week is paid in by the members ; par value per share 
|100 ; payments of 25 cents per share per week, and 
the stock matures in about six years and six months. 
The officers and directors are as follows : President, 
L. Bates Russell, Vice-President, Fred. G. Usilton; 

126 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Secretary and Treasurer, J. Waters Kussell; Coun- 
sellor, John D. Urie; Dr. H. Benge Simmons, Thos. 
S. Bordley, Charles S. Smith, William F. Russell, 
A. M. Culp, J. H. Sides, M. A. Toulson, Charles N. 
Satterfield. Its assets December 31, 1915, were 

The People's Bank was organized in 1911. Capi- 
tal stock 125,000; the last statement showed, sur- 
plus fund of 110,000 and total business, |273,772.62. 
Its Directors: Dr. H. B. Simmons, president; L. B. 
Russell, vice-president; A. Parks Rasin, William. M. 
Slay, Capt. Daniel Hill, William T. Brown, Wil- 
liam G. Snwth, Joseph DoAvney, John C. Davis, 
Howard F. Owens, R. Hynson Rogers. They have 
established a branch bank at Rock Hall, one at 
Massey and another at Betterton. 

Another growing financial institution is the Mil- 
lington Bank of Maryland, located at Millington. 
The capital stock is |15,000 ; surplus fund, |5,000 ; 
total business |138,571.81, according to the state- 
ment. May, 1916. Its Directors are John P. Ahern, 
president; Isaac Gibbs, vice-president; R. W. 
Moffett, T. C. Roe, R. F. Powell, J. H. Wiest, Spen- 
cer Merrick, J. S. Newman, Joseph Mallalieu. 

The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Kent 
County is a successful financial corporation in 
Chestertown, and was chartered in 1847. It has 
saved to its policy holders at least |175,077.12 dur- 
ing the past fifty years of its existence. The Direc- 
tors are Thomas W. Eliason, president; George B. 
Westcott, secretary and treasurer; Samuel Vannort, 
James H. Baker, E. S. Yalliant, James A. Casey, 
Edward W. Emery, R. G. Nicholson, Jefferson D. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 127 

Bacchus, Harry C. Price, James T. Brown, Fred G. 

The Kent County Land Company was organized 
in 1911 and has a capital stock of |22,500, and has 
about 180,000 invested in land. The Directors are 
J. Waters Kussell, president; William S. Collins, 
Fred. G. Usilton, Alwyn M. Culp. 












I— ( 





History of Kent County, ^Iaryland 129 


The First Military Organization — Music — Rendition 
of the Beautiful Cantata^ ''Queen Esther''' and 

In 1793-4 the first military company in Chester- 
town was organized, the ""Chester Hundred Light 
Infantry," Capt. William B. Rasin. He when seven- 
teen years old enlisted, and after the battle of Cam- 
den was made lieutenant. He was near Baron 
deKalb when he fell and fought in the Revolutionary 
War, dying at the age of 45 or 50. 

In 1825 the ''Chester Republican Blues," "Chester 
Independent Company," and "LaFayette Artillery,-' 
celebrated the Fourth of July in Chestertown. The 
speakers were Col. Fred Wilson, Major Simon 
Wickes, Adjutant James Harris, Capt. Joseph 
Wickes, Capt. A. B. Hanson, Capt. Wm. S. Las- 
sell, Lieut. William Harris, Jr., Ensigns Benj. 
Greenwood, Jr., and George Vickers. 

Next came the "Reed Rifles," with fifty members, 
organized in 1858, Capt. Eben F. Perkins; First 
Lieutenant, Robert Stam; Second Lieutenant, John 
N. McDaniel. In the News Ofiice there mav be 
found the silk flag carried by Philip Reed at Caulk's 
Field and presented to the Reed Rifles in 1857 by 
George Handy. It was the property of Milton Baker 
for some years. In August, 1858, Lieut. Robert 
Stam died very suddeuh^ while the company were 
on the way home from an excursion to Port Deposit. 
This company was called out several times to quell 

130 History of Kent County, Maryland 

disorder on the occasion of excursions from Balti- 
more, but was never ordered to battle. They dis- 
banded at the breaking out of the Civil War and 
many enlisted in the "Home Guards," which were 
encamped at Camp Vickers, near the mill. Colonel 
Massey, Capt. C. H. Wickes and Capt. William D. 
Burchinal each had companies. The "Chester Blues" 
were the rivals of the "Keed Kitles," Jesse K. Hines, 
captain ; William H. Hamiilton, first lieutenant. 

In May, 1861, a company was formed with Hon. 
E. H. Chambers, captain; Jos. A. Wickes, first lieu- 
tenant; James A. Pearce, Jr., second lieutenant. A 
volunteer company was also formed with James A. 
Shaw, captain ; William B. Usilton and Thos. S. 
Dodd, lieutenants. 

Capt. William I. Basin, who died Sunday, June 
18, 191G, was born July 1, 1811, near Still Pond. 
He was the son of Macall Medford Basin, who served 
during three sessions of the legislature. In the 
spring of 1861, Captain Basin entered the southern 
army and though not then twentj^-one, he organized 
a cavalry company of which he was chosen captain. 
He was constantly engaged in the arduous duties of 
that branch of the service, and participated in many 
severe engagements. In one of these near Win- 
chester, Va., his horse was shot under him and he 
received a dangerous sabre wound in the head, but 
soon returned to his command. Bev. Dr. Bandolph 
H. McKim, of Gen. Jos. E. Johnston's staff, in his 
^'Soldiers' Becollections," states that Captain Basin 
at the head of his company led the first charge at 
Appomattox. He says, "This was handsomely made 
by the First Maryland Cavalry under the following 








I— ( 



132 History of Kent County, Maryland 

circumstances as related to me by Col. Cary Breck- 
enbridge, of the Second Virginia Cavalry. When 
the enemy in full charge was seen coming at them 
not one hundred yards distant, Capt. William I. 
Basin, commanding the first squadron and riding 
with Colonel Dorsey at the head of his regiment, 
said, 'Colonel, we must charge them, it is the only 
chance,' and as the words left his lips, Dorsey, who 
had perceived the necessity, gave the command, 
'Draw sabre — gallop — charge!' And this little band 
of Marylanders hurled themselves against the heavy 
columjn and drove them back. This was the last 
blow struck by the army of Northern Virginia." 
And in this charge William C. Price, of Captain 
Rasin's Company, a native of Kent County, and a 
son of Ferdinand Price, was killed. Two other 
members of Company E from Kjent County were 
also killed in battle. Thos. H. Gemmill, near Win- 
chester, and John C. Spencer, at Greenland Gap, 

Six men from Kent County, but in other com- 
mands, were killed in battle. James Alfred Ken- 
nard and Samuel L. Kelley, at First Manassas; 
Henry C. Blackiston, at Bunker Hill, Va. ; Levi 
Perkins, near Winchester; Benjamin C. Vickers, at 
Shiloh, and James S. Price, son of Lewis Price, at 
Franklin, Tenn. Soon after the close of the war, 
Captain Rasin, with Col. Harry McCoy, formed a 
partnership as commission merchants in Baltimore 
under the firm name of McCoy & Rasin, in which 
they established a successful business which was 
continued a number of years, after which Captain 
Rasin purchased from the estate of Judge Cham- 




134 History of Kent County, Maryland 

bers the bajside farm near Tol Chester, where he 
lived for some time. Later he became Deputy Col- 
lector of Internal Revenue, in Baltimore. 

Chestertown out of a voting population of less 
than 200 furnished the first year of the Civil War 
G2 soldiers in the Union Army. 

Many exciting incidents are told of that patriotic 
organization of soldiers, the ^'Eeed Rifles,'' for home 
protection. In the exciting scenes before the actual 
breaking out of the Civil War, and when our noble 
commonwealth Avas in the throes of uncertaintv as 
to whether her fortunes would be cast with the 
South or with the Union — when railroads were torn 
up and all travel between the nation's capital and 
the North interrupted and Chestertown saw the 
singular spectacle of strangers going through our 
streets or stopping over night on the wa^' from Bal- 
timore to northern cities — the State Legislature was 
in flight to Frederick — our chief city appalled by 
riot and blood-shed, and every flag of the Union 
hauled down throughout the State — one flag only 
remained flying and that was on the Reed Rifles' 
armory in Chestertown ! Every member of the com- 
pany rallied to its protection and though they loved 
the South tliiey would not allow the old flag to be 

The old Town Hall, which stood in the center of 
the now beautiful town park, and was for so long 
the only hall and market house of the town, was 
built by the Reed Rifles and owned by them until 
the company disbanded. 

Another great and memorable occasion was the 
presentation of a magnificent banner by the ladies 

History op Kent County, Maryland 135 

of Chestertowu. The presentation was made by 
Miss Wickes, daughter of Joseph Wickes, Esq., from 
the porch of the family residence on Main street — 
the same dwelling now owned and occupied by 
Mrs. Joseph Wickes. This old banner is now in 
the custody of Thos. S. Bordley, but it is greatly 
marred by the ravages of time. 

There were ten of these soldiers surviving in 
1916, among them being James W. Chapman, Mil- 
ton Baker, James W. Lambert, Alfred I. Benjamin, 
Freeman Fiddis, William W. Copper. There were 
sixty members in the original enrollment. 

The "Kent Guards" was an offspring of the 
"Reed Rifles," and was organized in the fall of 
1878, with H. W. Vickers as captain, succeeded 
afterwards by Thos. S. Bordley. This company had 
a number of target contests, parades and wonderful 
experiences. In 1880 J. S. Vandergrift won the 
cup for the best shot. 

The first musical organization of which we have 
any record is the Chester Band, formed in 1850, and 
was led by Mr. John ReDue. Mr. C. T. Westcott 
was leader of the Kent Cornet Band for years, and 
was succeeded by Mr. John N. Orem. Two boy 
bands were in existence in 1884 and 1890, one led 
by Carle Westcott and the other by William F. Rus- 
sell. The "Worton Band" of four pieces is said to 
have been the most comical organization ever in 
town, having paraded here on Emancipation Day. 
The instruments were bass drum, trombone, cornet 
and bass horn. 

In 1896 two orchestras were formed in the 
Methodist Sunday Schools, and they were a credit 

136 History of Kent County, Maryland 

to the schools and town. The M. E. Orchestra con- 
sisted of J. F. Thompson, L. B. Russell, Edw. Ring- 
gold, D. P. Jones, Miss Anna G. Lambert. M. P. 
Orchestra : A. M. Gulp, J. N. Dodd, W. H. McFeely, 
Robert Garey, Warren Hurlock, John Gannan ; 
Misses May Hurlock, organist, and Glare Vannort, 

Ghestertown has some of the finest singers in the 
State and pianists that equal any other town on the 
Shore. Operas, cantatas and plays have been pre- 
sented by home talent that are hard to excel. 
Among the fine productions was the rendition of the 
oratorio of ''Queen Esther." The cast of characters 
of its rendition, in January, 1888, was as follows : 

Queen Miss Hallie Beck 

Queen's Attendants Misses Belle Aldridge, Lillie 

Queen's Maids Misses Emma Gilpin, Edith 

Queen's Pages Misses Lucie Hines, Carrie 


Zeresh Miss Mollie Parks 

Zeresh's Attendants Misses Clare Vannort, Allie 


Zeresh's Child "Ida" Miss Amye Russell 

Prophetess Miss Anna Lambert 

Mordecai's Sister Miss Mary R. Aldridge 

Maid of Honor Miss Emma Lambert 

Angel Miss Grace Turner 

King W. Walter Chapman 

King's Pages Harry Rickey, Lenox CatliD 

Haman Prof. Edw. J. Clark 

Mordecai M. Wilbur Thomas 

High Priest William A. Biscoe 

Hegai Thomas S. Dodd 

Scribe Fred. G. Usilton 

Herald and Harbonah Horace W. Beck 

Charles S. Smith 
R. S. Thomas 

Guards Harry Brice 

Ellwood Baker 

History of Kent County, Maryland 137 

Pianist Mrs. Lulie Bacchus 

Organist Miss Belle Pippin 

Violinist L. B. Russell 

DoJble Bass Viol Charles P. Hodgkin 

Clarionet Edgar Ford 

Cornetist I. L. Twilley 

Director W. Harper McFeely 

Since then the Chestertown Musical and Dra 
matic Association under the direction of William 
Walter Chapman has given ''Esther" in 1915 and 
"The Coming of Ruth" in 1916, with great success. 
Mr. Chapman was succeeded by Prof. Ten Hoor as 
leader and Miss Mabel Toulson as president. 

138 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Kent in the War of 1812-14. 

The weekly Register printed in Baltimore City 
in its issue of April 24, 1814, states that the Eng- 
lish had landed on Pool's Island, where they ei'sected 
a small battery to cut off trade in the upper bay. 
Under date of April 28, six hundred of the enemy 
landed in barges on Spesutia Island, nearly opposite 
the mouth of the Susquehanna River. At the time of 
the landing about one hundred persons (fishermen) 
on the island escaped to Hartford County. News was 
received from Kent that two persons suspected of 
having supplied the British with provisions, were 
arrested and sent to General Chambers, at ''Charles- 
town" (evidently Chestertown). On April 26th 
"The enemy's force, consisting of one 74, three fri- 
gates, two brigs, two schooners, and a number of 
tenders, are nowly off from Werton Point. They 
are on shore on Pool's Island every day, having got 
possession of it. On Saturday they made an at- 
tempt to land at the mouth of Still Pond, but were 
repulsed by the force collected on shore. ''On the 
morning of the 3rd of May, Havre de Grace was 
destroyed, but one house remiained uninjured. Stage 
coaches, together with the baggage of their passen- 
gers, were destroyed." 

The following interesting extracts from a "letter 
from Kent" and "Georgetown X Roads" are given. 
The first extract says : "A ship of war passing down 
the bay last Tuesday, commenced a bombardment on 

History of Kent County, Maryland 139 

S. Wilmer's house (of j^oiir city), and after firing 
15 shots at the house, 6 of which lodged in the wall, 
and two passed through the house; they also landed 
at a Mr. Medford's with extreme rudeness, robbed 
him of all his sheep, cattle, hogs, bacon and even 
setting poultry and escaped with their booty thus 
honorably obtained." The editor adds : ''We learn 
by another channel that after killing Mr. M.'s 
cattle, the militia came upon the British before they 
could carry them off." The letter from Georgetown 
said: ''The enemy landed at Mr. George Medford's, 
at Plum! Point, in Werton, and robbed his meat 
house, hen house and sheepfold; they even went into 
the kitchen, stole the kitchen furniture and took 
the negroes' weekly allowance of meat. The Maid- 
stone frigate lies so near Howell's Point that she 
has thrown some of her shot a mile into the 

It is also stated that while trying to effect a land- 
ing in Fairlee Creek the British were attacked, and 
it is believed, lost several of their number. 

These old papers give some interesting quota- 
tions of prices in 1813: Flour, |6 barrel; wheat, 
.fl.25 bushel; corn, .fO.GS bushel; molasses, |1.15 gal- 
lon ; pork, |21 barrel ; French brandy, |2.20 gallon ; 
rye whiskey, |1 gallon ; brown sugar, |26.50 cwt., 
salt, 11.25 bushel; shot, |19.50 cwt.; teas (Hyson), 
$1.95 lb. ; tobacco, |8 cwt. 

The "free persons" given for Kent County in 1810 
were given at 7,201 ; "white population," 11,450 ; 
quota of direct tax, |4,213.95. 

140 History op Kent County, Maryland 


Four United States Senators Furnished Ity Kent 
Coimty — Tlieir Life History — Other Notaries. 

It is seldom that a town the size of Chestertown 
is so ably represented in the legislation of our 
country as is the case with this towTi in Kent. It 
has had the honor of furnishing four United States 
Senators, all of whom were men of extraordinary 

Senator Philip Reed was born in Kent County 
about 1760, and died in 1829. He received an aca- 
demical education, and served as captain in the 
Revolutionary Armlf. Afterwards he was elected to 
the United States Senate in place of Robert Wright, 
resigned, and held the seat from 1806 to 1813. On 
his return home he commanded, as colonel of militia, 
the regiment of home guards that met and defeated 
at Caulk's Field, Md., August 30, 1814, a superior 
British force under Sir Peter Parker, who was killed 
in the engagement. Col. Reed was elected to the 
Fifteenth Congress, serving until the year 1823. 

James Barroll Ricaud, jurist, born in Baltimore, 
Md., February 11, 1808; died in Chestertown, Janu- 
ary 26, 1866. He was educated at St. Mary's Col- 
lege, Baltimore, studied law, and on admission to 
the bar, entered into practice at Chestertown. He 
was a memSber of the House of Delegates in 1843 
and succeeding sessions, and a presidental elector 
on the Harrison ticket in 1836, and on the Clay 
ticket in 1844. Hie was elected a member of Congress 

History of Kent County, Maryland 141 

by the American party for two successive terms;, 
serving until 1859. He subsequently sat in the State 
Senate, but resigned on being appointed a Judge of 
the Circuit Court, 1864. 

Ezekiel Freeman Chambers was born in Klent 
County February 28, 1788, and died in Chestertown 
on January 30, 1867. He was graduated at Wash- 
ington College in 1805, studied law and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1808. He performed military 
service in the war of 1812, and subsequently ob- 
tained the rank of Brigadier-General of Militia. 
Though elected in 1822 to the State Senate against 
his will, he took an active part in the legislation of 
that body, and in 1825 arranged a system for the 
more effectual recovery of slaves. In 1826 he was 
elected United States Senator from Maryland, and 
in 1832 re-elected. He distinguished himself as one 
of the ablest debaters and antagonists in that body. 
In 1834 he was appointed Chief Judge of the Second 
Judicial District and a Judge of the Court of Ap- 
peals, which places he held till 1857, when the Mary- 
land judiciary became elective. In 1850 he was a 
member of the Constitutional Convention of the 
State. In 1852 President Fillmore offered him the 
post of Secretary of the Navy, on the resignation of 
Secretary Graham, but the condition of his health 
compelled him to decline. Yale conferred on him 
the degree of LL. D. in 1833, and Delaware in 1852. 

James Alfred Pearce, born in Alexandria, Va., 
December 14, 1805; died in Chestertown, December 
20, 1862. He was graduated at Princeton in 1822, 
studied law in Baltimore, and was admitted to the 
bar in 1824, after whicli he began to practice at 
Cambridge, Md. At the end of a year he went to Lou- 

142 History of Kent County, Maryland 

isiana ^yitll his father and engaged in sugar plant- 
in"' for three years. He then returned to Maryland 
and settled in Kent Count y, where he resumed the 
practice of his profession. He was elected to the 
Maryland House of Delegates in 1831; in 1835 to 
Congress as a Democrat, and he seryed, except dur- 
ing one term in 183941, until 1843, when he was 
chosen to the United States Senate, where he re- 
mained until his death. During his long seryice i:i 


the Senate he was especially interested in the library 
of Congress, the Smiths cnian Institute and the 
Coast Suryey. President Fillmore offered him a seat 
on the bench of the United States District Court 
of Maryland, which he declined. During the same 
administration he was nominated and confirmed 
Secretary of the Interior, but this honor was also 
declined, on the ground that he could be of more use 
to his country in the Senate. He took a deep in- 
terest in educational matters, and in 1833 was 
elected one of the Visitors and Goyernors of Wash- 
ington College, in Ayhich institution he afterwards 

History of Kent County, Maryland 143 

lectured on law. Mr. Pearce was regarded as one 
of the wisest and safest members of the United 
States Senate. His son, Judge James A. Pearce, 
holds an enviable position among all our people. 

Hon. George Vickers was born in Chestertown 
November 19, 1801, and died October 8, 1879. He 


acquired a classical education, was employed in the 
county clerk's office for several yeai^, studied law, 
was admitted to the bar in 1832, and practiced in 
Chestertown. He was a delegate to the Whig Na- 
tional Convention of 1852. When the Civil War 
began he was appointed Major-General of the State 
militia. He was a presidental elector on the McClel 
Ian ticket in 1864, and one of the vice-presidents 
of the Union Convention of 1866. In 1866-7 he was 
a member of the State Senate. In 1868 he was 
elected United States Senator for the term that 
ended on March 3, 1873, in the place of Philip F. 
Thomas, who had been denied the seat. 

144 History of Kent County, Maryland 

It being imfjortant that the new Senator should 
reach Washington at the earliest period practicable, 
the ice-boat Chesapeake was dispatched from Bal- 
timbre on Friday evening, March 6, 1867, having on 
board the committee of the Legislature to bring Mr. 
Vickers to that city. The steamer reached here at 
3 o'clock Saturday morning. Mr. Vickers was noti- 
fied of his election and he left at once, the boat 
breaking ice all the way to Baltimore, where a spe- 
cial car was in waiting to convey the party to Wash- 
ington. General Vickers was sworn in Monday and 
took an important part in the acquittal of President 
Andrew Johnson in the efforts of his enemies to 
impeach him. He took a conspicuous part in the 
debate on the Fifteenth Amendment to the Federal 
Constitution also. His grandson, H. W. Vickers, 
Esq., is one of the most prominent members of the 
bar here. 

Probably the first commander of the United 
States Navy was Ale^xander Murray, who was bora 
in the old Spencer house, Chestertown, in 1755, and 
died in Philadelphia in 1821. He was a relative of 
Mrs. Lottie Roberts, who has a well-preserved por- 
trait of him. In 1776 he was appointed a lieu- 
tenant in the Continental Navy, but there being no 
employment for him afloat, he served through the 
campaigns of 1776-7 as lieutenant and captain in the 
First Maryland Eegiment, participating in the bat- 
tles of Flatbush and White Plains. At the close of 
the campaign of 1777 he was given the command 
of a ship with a letter of marque, in which he was 
captured by the British squadron and carried into 
New York. After his exchange he served as lieu- 
tenant on the Trumbull, in the action with the Iris 


146 History of Kent County, Maryland 

and Gen. Monk, off the moutli of the Delaware. In 
1798 he was made captain, and served in the West 
Indies in command of the Constellation. In 1802 he 
commanded the Constellation in the Mediterranean, 
and an attack which he made upon a flotilla of seven- 
teen gunboats was the first affair of the war with 
Tripoli. At his death he was in command of the 
Navy Yard at Philadelphia, and was senior officer 
of the navy. 

Chestertown was the birth-place of Charles Wilson 
Peale, one of the greatest artists of his day, so says 
E. H. Butler's history. He was born in April, 1741. 
He was bv trade a saddler and received instruction 
in the art of painting from Hesselius, a German, to 
whom he gave a saddle for the privilege of seeing 
him paint. He was the first dentist in America who 
prepared sets of enamel teeth. He was a universal 
genius, making for himself a violin and a guitar. He 
went to London in 1770 and became a pupil of Ben- 
jamin West. Eeturning to America, he was the 
chief portrait painter in this country. He was a 
patriot and commanded a company in the battles 
of Trenton and Germantown. In 1785 he com- 
menced in Philadelphia the celebrated Peale's 
Museum, which for many years was the largest and 
most valuable collection of natural curiosities in 
the United States. Its principal attraction was an 
entire skeleton of a mammoth. He also established 
a museum in Baltimore. Mr. Peale died, after a 
a life of extraordinary exertion and temperance, in 
1827, aged 85 years. His son Kenibrandt was an 
artist of great merit. Mr. Peale's father was a 
teacher in the old Free School at Chestertown. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 147 


Old Records Shoimug Transfers of Land in Kent. 

Mr. Percy G. Skirven in his search, of historic 
iuformation among the records in the Court House 
in Baltimore City, contributes interesting facts. 
Among the transfers of land may be found : Col. 
Edward Carter, of upper Norfolk County, Virginia, 
released a "bill of sale'' he held on land belonging 
to his brother-in-law, Joseph Hopkins, February 
28, 1667. This tract of land was known as "Buck 
Neck" and described as "lying in the eastern side 
of the Chesapeake Bay and at the head of a creek 
in the bar called Worton Creek." 

Four years afterwards, September 5, 1671, Daniel 
Silvane, of Baltimore County, gave a quit-claim deed 
to William Pearce, of the same county, for 150 acres 
of this tract. The record states the land "is lying 
and being in Chesapeake Bay, in Baltimore County, 
and on the eastern side of the bay in a creek called 
Worton Creek, being a part of a tract of land called 
'Buck Neck,' formerly taken up by Joseph Hop- 
kins, which said 150 acres were purchased by me of 
William Pearce." 

In March of the same year we find this one: ''To 
all Christian people : Know ye, that I, Charles Nicho- 
lett, minister of God's Word in the county of BaJ- 
timore, within the Proyince of Maryland, and Jus- 
tine, my wife, do, etc., sell to John James the tract of 
land known as 'Lynn,' lying and being in Chesapeake 
Bay and on the eastern side of said bay and in a 

148 History of Kent County, Maryland 

creek called Steelpone Creek, and on the north side 
of the said creek, containing 150 acres." This deed 
Avas dated March 5, 1671. 

The following record is dated 1672 : Charles James 
to Thomas Middlefield, carpenter. 200 acres known 

» 4. 



as ^'Little Drayton," described as "being in Balti- 
more County, in the eastern side of the Chesapeake 
Ba}^, and in a bay called Steelpone Bay, and in a 
creek in the said bay called Churne Creeke, and on 
the west side of the said creeke." 

On March 1, 1672, a deed was recorded showing 
that Thomas How^ell sold to James Hepbourne 200 

History of Kent County, Maryland 149 

acres of land "lying in Chesapeake Bay on the 
eastern side of the said bay in the county afoi'esaid 
(Baltimore) and in a river, called Sassafras Elver 
and in a creek in the said river called Fishing (now 
Lloyd's) Creek and at the head of the said creek." 

A little more than a year afterwards, August 2, 
1673, William Salsbury, planter, and his wife Sarah, 
sold 200 acres of land called ''Tamworth" to William 
Morgan and William Welch, planters. This prop- 
erty, too, was ''in Chesapeake Bay on the eastern 
side of the said bay in the county of Baltimore in a 
creek within the said bay called Worton Creek." 
It adjoined the lands of Captain Cornwallis. 

As late as June 3, 1674, just three days before 
Lord Baltimore sent to Nathaniel Stiles, the ''high 
Sheriff of Cecil County," his proclamation erecting 
the county of ''Cecil," a deed was recorded in the 
land records of Baltimore County showing that 
Thomas Ramsav sold 200 acres of land called ''Fare- 
all" to John West. This land is described as being 
in the Sassafras River in a creek called "Toulson's 
Creeke" and adjoining the lands of Andrew Toulson. 

How Lord Baltimore Intended It. 

These records do not prove conclusively that Bal- 
timore County's southern boundary on the Eastern 
Shore was as stated above, but from data bearing on 
the erection of the counties of Cecil, Talbot and Kent 
it is reasonably safe to say that a line drawn from 
Worton Creek to the Chester River in the vicinity 
of Chestertown and from thence with the Chester 
River to the eastern boundary of the province was 

150 History of Kent County, Maryland 

what Lord Baltimiore, with what limited knowl- 
edge he had of the geography of the country, in- 
tended should be the southern boundary. Baltimore 
County was probably erected in 1659, but the first 
record of any court held in that county shows that 
in 1661 court was held at the house of Capt. Thomas 
Howell, very probably on HowelPs Point. 

Previous to the building of a courthouse on the 
Elk River an old building stood on the shore of what 
is now known as "Ordinary Point," a long narrow 
sand bar extending out into the Sassafras River from 
the north shore, just opposite to the mouth of Tur- 
ner's Creek. A well-authenticated description under 
date of 1679 of this old building, which, according to 
the story, was an ordinary house or inn and w^hich 
was also used as a courthouse, is to be found in the 
early historical records of the province. There are 
many facts to lead us to 1 elieve that this was one 
of the old courthouses of Baltimore Countv at least 
for part of the time that this county extended its 
borders across the Chesapeake. 

Shrewsbury parish received its name from a town 
"laid out" on the south side of the Sassafras River, 
a little distance east of Turner's Creek. In Vol. 13, 
Page 26, of the Archives of Maryland, we find that 
on April 18, 1684, "upon motion of the delegates of 
Cecil County, a towne is ordered to be laid out at 
Meeting House Point, in Sassafras River, in the said 
county." About this time the Rt. Hon. Charles Tal- 
bot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was Principal Secretary of 
State in England and the newly "laid-out" town may 
have been so named in his honor. In the event that 
this was not the case, however, it may have taken its 

History of Kent County, ^Farylaxd 151 

name from a shire town, Slirewsbui-y, in England. 

^'Meeting House Point," so called lor the first 
church or "meeting house," was an exceedingly ad- 
vantageous location considered from the point of 


accessibility by water transportation. At this time 
— 1684 — there were few roads and almost all of the 
visiting and churchgoing, as well as the commercial 
traffic, was done by boats. Then, too, the ships 
trading between England and the Province had bold 
water at this point in the Sassafras and could 
anchor close to shore for loading and unloading 
their freight. 

152 History of Kent County, Maryland 

No records have been found as to how long 
Shrewsbury Town was used as a port of entry or 
Avhat the names of the streets were or who lived 
tliere. That Shrewsbury Town had been abandoned 
as a place ''where all ships and vessels trading into 
the province shall unload and put on shore all 
negroes, wares, goods, merchandise, and commodi- 
ties whatsoever" is borne out by the following sec- 
tion in the act of the Assembly of April 19, 1706, 
establishing such towns or ports. 

''The towns, ports and places hereinafter men- 
tioned shall be ports, etc. : In Kent County ; in 
Chester River, on a plantation of Mr. Wilmore's and 
Edward Walvin's plantation (the present site of 
Chestertown) ; in Worton Creek, on a tract of land 
where Francis Barnes lives, formerly laid out for a 
towne, and in Sassafras River, where Shrewsbury 
Towne was." In a supplementary act to the one 
above passed by the Assembly on April 15, 1707, 
the following appears: "And that the place ap- 
pointed be also deserted and laid out where the com- 
missioners for towns in Kent County aforesaid have 
purchased land for the same." 

There is no doubt the place that the above act has 
reference to is the present site of the pretty village 
of Georgetown, which lies on the south bank of the 
Sassafras River, some six miles to the east of where 
the old town of Shrewsbury was ''laid out." The 
act of assembly for laying out Georgetow^n was not 
passed until 1736, but there are many reasons to 
believe that it was "laid out" many years previous 
to that date. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 153 

The following partial extract of a record found 
among the land records of Kent County^ shows that 
this y^^as so at least three years prior to the act of 
assembly just mentioned : ''This indenture, made this 
nineteenth day of March, Anno Dom, One Thousand 
Seven Hundred Thirty and three, between Gideon 
Pearce, of Kent County, Mar} land, gentleman of the 
one part, and George Skirven, of the same place, gen- 
tleman of the other part, withnesseth, etc., all that 
parcel of land being two of the lotts of land in a 
designed towne as now laid out and called George 
Towne (lying now in Kent County, in Maryland, 
upon the Sassafras Riyer), w^hich two lotts are 
known and designed as No. 14 and No. 15 as by 
platt and certificate of the designed Towne lodged 
with the Surveyor of the said county. Also the 
use of Lott No. 10 belonging to his daughter, Rachel 
Pearce, for the benefit and advantages of Importa- 
tion and Exportation of anything Whatsoever." 
Lot No. 10 was at the foot of Front street directly 
on the river shore. 

The names of the principal streets in this old town 
were King, Queen, Princess, Stop, Cannon, Kent, 
Cross, Chestnut, Front and Calvert. George's lane 
and Fish alley were names of smaller streets near 
the water's edge. This beautiful old town with its 
neighbor, Fredericktown, across the Sassafras River 
in Cecil County, is mentioned in a ''Journal" pub- 
lished by a clergyman in 1759. In traveling from 
Annapolis to Philadelphia he stopped for the night 
in Fredericktown and he writes: "Fredericktown is 
a small village on the western side of the Sassafras 
River built for the accomlmodation of strangers and 

154 History of Kent County, Maryland 

travelers ; on the eastern side, exactly opposite to it, 
is another small village (Georgetown) erected for 
the same purpose." 

For nearlv five vears after the erection of Shrews- 
bury parish there was no regular minister in 
charge. In 1097 the Rev. Richard Sewell was sent 
by Gov. Francis Nicholson. 

While the Rev. Mr. Sewell was the first rector 
sent by the Governor to these parishes, there had 
been services held in Shrewsbury parish by the 
Rev. Mr. Lawrence Vanderbush, then rector of St. 
Paul's parish in Kent. Mr. Vanderbrush went to 
St. Paul's in September, 16934, and he had held 
services at least once a month in Shrewsbury parish 
during the last year of his life, 1096, and very 
probably from the first year that he went to St. 

Too Much Work For One Man. 

It was shortly after the death of Mr. Vanderbush 
that Mr. Sewell went to Shrewsbury, and, as the 
work was hard and the two parishes so large, he 
found it more than he could do alone. In the church 
records of St. Paul's parish there appear items show- 
ing that the Rev. Mr. Stephen Bordley, who was sent 
as rector of that (St. Paul's) parish in 1697, as- 
sisted the Rev. Mr. Sewell in the work by holding 
services at Shrewsbury church on the first Sunday 
in each month during the years of 1699 and 1706. It 
is very probable that this arrangement lasted from 
the time of Mr. Bordley going to St. Paul's. 

From the two mother parishes of St. Paul's and 
Shrewsbury in the year 1765 Chester parish was 

History of Kent County, Maryland 155 

erected and a church built for that parish at the 
present site of Christ Church "I. U." Its "Chapel 
of Ease" was built at Chestertown where the present 
Emmanuel Church now stands. It is authorita- 
tively stated that the chapel at Chestertown was 
made the "church" of Chester parish about the year 
1809, "I. U." becoming the "Chapel of Ease." 

Within the churchyard at Shrewsbury, now in- 
closed with a handsome and substantial iron fence, 
are to be seen the graves of many distinguished 
colonists, of rectors who have laid down here to 
rest when their work on earth was finished and of 
the sturdy settlers who were none the less valuable 
as citizens as well as churchmen. Today their 
descendents point with pride to these mute evidences 
of their ancestors, who, through courage and energy, 
carved out of the wilderness both fortune and name 
to be handed down to succeeding generations. 

In looking through the old records of the parish, 
the following names are to be seen prior to 1780; 
Angier, Blackiston, Burgan, Blay, Browning, Boyer, 
Brooks, Bellikin, Baird, Black, Briscoe, Comegys, 
Christian, Campbell, Cole, Chandler, Cadwalader, 
Clark, CreWj Cosden, Clayton, Cooper, Dinning, 
Day, De Brewster, Dunnington, Donaldson, Davis, 
Eccleston, Evans, Fisher, French, Freeman, Forres- 
ter, Gale, Cleaves, Hall, Hopkins, Hynson, Holdman, 
Hudson, Hepbron, Howard, Hailes, Hicks, Hull, 
Hanson, Haley, Hatchison, Hazil, Hurtt, Ireland, 
Jones, Jobson, Johnson, Knock, Kenton, Keating, 
Lowe, Latham, Middleton, Medford, Merritt, Mil- 
born, Massey, Mansfield, Maffitt, Norris, Pearce, 
Perkins, Page, Piner, Redgrave, Ridson, Rasin, Reed, 

156 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Eeyner, Rogers, Riley, Sewell, Smothers, Skeggs, 
Spencer, Stoops, Sutton, Smith, Symonds, Tillton, 
Tilden, Turner, Truelock, Wallis, Wilson, Waite, 
Wilmer, Woodland, Wethered, Wright and Yeates. 

The first vestry was composed of the following 
'^freeholders:" William Harris, Edward Blay, Wil- 
liam Pearce, William Elm, Edward Skidmore and 
George Skirven. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 157 


Some Weather Records. 

Tlie Coldest Winter and Summe?' — Men Wrapped in 
Overcoats Drove Reapers July 4 — A Year When 
Snoiv Fell and Sheep Froze to Death in June — - 
Ice and Frost in July — and Crops Were Chilled 
in August. 

All are prone to look upon the "olden time" as 
being remarkable for weather, as well as for many 
other happenings. The record summer of 1816 
stands as the most distressing of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. June, 1816, was the coldest ever known in 
this latitude; frost and ice were common. Almost 
every green thing was killed ; fruit was nearly all 
destroyed. This was the year when farmers were 
glad to wear overcoats and gloves when cutting 
wheat July 4 and fires on the hearth were welcome. 

Snow fell to the depth of ten inches in Vermont, 
seven in Maine, three in the interior of New York, 
and also in Massachusetts. There were a few warm 
days. All classes looked for them in that memorable 
cold summer. 

It was called a dry season. But little rain fell. The 
wind blew steadily from the north cold and fierce. 
Mothers knit extra socks and mittens for their chil- 
dren in the spring, and wood-piles that usually dis- 
appeared during the warm spell in front of the 
houses were speedily built up again. Planting and 
shivering were done together, and the farmers who 

158 History of Kent County, Maryland 

worked out their taxes on the country roads wore 
overcoats and mittens. 

In a town in Vermont a flock of sheep belonging 
to a farmer had been sent, as usual, to their pasture. 
On the seventeenth of June a heavy snow fell; the 
cold was intense, and the owner started away at 
noon to look for his sheep. 


"Better start the neighbors soon, wife," he said in 
jest before leaving; "being in the middle of June I 
may get lost in the snow." 

Night came, the storm increased, and he did not 
return. The next morning the family sent out for 
help and started in search. One after another of 
tlie neighbors turned out to look for the missing 
man. The snow had covered up all tracks, and not 
until the end of the third day did they find him on 

History of Kent County, Maryland 159 

the side of a hill, with both feet frozen, unable to 

A farmer who had a large field of corn in another 
New England village, built fires around it to ward 
off the frost; many an evening he and his men took 
turns watching it. He was rewarded with the only 
crop in the neighborhood. 

Considerable damage was done in New Orleans in 
consequence of the rapid rise of the Mississippi 
Eiver; the suburbs were covered with water and 
the roads were passed only in boats. Fears that the 
sun was cooling off abounded, and throughout New 
England all picnics were strictly prohibited be- 
cause of the danger to health. 

July was accompanied with frost and ice. On the 
fifth, ice was formed of the thickness of the common 
window glass throughout New England, New York, 
and some parts of Kent County. Corn was nearly 
all destroyed ; some favorably situated fields escaped. 

August was more cheerless, if possible, than the 
months which preceded it. Ice was formed half an 
inch in thickness. Indian corn was so frozen that 
the greater part was cut down and dried for fodder. 
Almost every green thing was destroyed in this coun- 
try and in Europe. 

On the thirteenth snow fell at Barnet, forty miles 
from London. Papers received from England stated 
that ''it would be remembered by the present genera- 
tion that the year 1816 was a year in which there 
was no summer." Very little corn ripened in Eng- 
land, and the Middle States farmers supplied them- 
selves from corn produced in 1815 for seed in the 

160 History of Kent County, Maryland 

spring of 1817. It sold at from four to five dollars 
per bushel. 

Chestertown's oldest citizens state that the winter 
of 1899 was the worst in their recollection. The 
thermometer reached nine degrees below zero, and 
for a week hovered around the zero mark, with ex- 
cellent sleighing. Snow to the depth of three feet 
fell during the week, and the train was six days get- 
ting the mail to or from Chestertown. A blizzard 
raged for two days, roads were blocked and but 
little business was transacted. Navigation closed on 
Thursday, February 9, and remained so until the 


History of Kent County, Maryland IGl 


Women Vote in Kent— The First Place in State. 

Three of Them Take Part in Election at Still Pond— 
Fourteen Were Registered— Some of Those Who 
Didn't Go to the Polls Explain Why They Let a 
Glorious Opportunity Pass. 

An act was passed by the Legislature of Maryland, 
1908, incorporating the town of Still Pond. This 
act, in Section 3, provides that the legal voters of 
Still Pond, female included, who pay taxes and who 
have resided within its corporate limits six months, 
of the age of 21 years and upward, shall elect by 
ballot on the first Saturday in May, 1908, three com- 
missioners. Accordingly, on the first Saturday in 
May at 2 P. M. a voting place was opened in the 
public school room and Dr. W. S. Maxwell, Dr. J. 
H. Kelley and C. B. Krusen acted as judges and 
Wm. Medders and Wm. Krusen clerks. 

There were 75 voters registered, 12 of whom were 
white women and two colored. There were three 
ladies who availed themselves of the unusual priv- 
ilege of casting a ballot, thereby being the first 
Avomen in the State of Maryland to exercise the right 
of franchise. These w^re Mrs. Mary Jane Howard, 
one of the best known residents of the town; Mrs. 
W. S. Maxwell and Mrs. J. H. Kelley, wives of phy- 
sicians and leaders of thought in the community. 
These ladies voted early, but two of them voted a 
losing ticket. Mrs. Howard was the exception, as 
one of her candidates out of the three for whom she 

162 History of Kent County, Maryland 

voted was elected. It is said that some of the men 
offered to write the tickets for these voters, but they 
refused to be influenced and voted "independently." 

Mrs. Howard stated that she felt very foolish 
going to the polls, but wanted to avail herself of the 
rare privilege to ascertain if there was really as 
much in it as the men seemed to believe. 

Still Pond was the only town in Maryland at that 
time where the women have the right to vote in a 
municipal election. Only three voted, but perhaps 
many were prevented from voting by a rainstorm 
which came up about 4 o'clock. One lady said she 
didn't vote because she didn't want to get her new 
hat spoiled. Another said she wanted to go about 
the time it rained and after that she had to prepare 
supper for the men folks. Another said that after 
the rain baby awoke and she was compelled to re- 
main with him. 

The election resulted in the selection of Thomas 
Bradley for three years, John B. Parrott for two 
years, and C. B. Krusen for one year, as commission- 
ers. The board named in the bill were Charles W. 
Hague, John G. Schofield and Wm. Medders. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 1G3 


Some Records on the Farm. 

The agricultural resources of Kent County are far 
superior to those of many other counties in the 
State of Maryland. No county has a greater variety 
of soils, or soils more fertile, more diversified, or 
more certain in the production of crops. Here is an 
abundance of raw material and rich soil, upon which 
all fruits, and all the crops, and all the animals 
necessar}^ for man's support and convenience can 
be raised with less expense than in colder climates. 
Here are mighty rivers and flowing creeks and purl- 
ing rivulets, gushing springs of sparkling water 
suitable for navigation and machinery, for stock, 
for dairy and household. Here is a climate so genial 
to the physical man that the very exuberance of 
his spirit doubles pleasures, and robs adversity of 
half its woes. This is the ideal home of the farmer 
and skilled workman. Land is cheap and produc- 
tive; skilled labor is in demand. 

In writing this history we cannot help but note 
the passing of a great industry — the peach. In the 
'80's there were a million and a half of trees in 
Kent and those were halcyon days to many a man. 
The Harrises and others along the Bay still find the 
peach a paying crop, but the blight and yellows have 
discouraged most of the farmers from putting much 
land in peach trees. Among the men who were first 
to introduce this delicious fruit was the late Col. 
Edw. Wilkins, who owned a lovely estate on 

164 History of Kent County, Maryland 

the Chester, now owned by Mrs. Jennie Viekers 
Robinson. His crop had realized him as high as 
160,000 in a single season. He sold 3,000 boxes of 
white heath peaches one season for |18,000, which 
was at the rate of |6 per box. Twenty to forty 
thousand dollars per year clear was only an ordi- 
nary crop to Colonel Wilkins in those days. In one 
season he furnished one canner in Baltimore |56,000 
worth of peaches and did not take up a dollar ; at the 
end of the season he took the canner's note for the 
whole amount until a market was found for the 
canned article. ''Good old times" indeed were those ! 
For several years past the keiffer pear, assisted 
by the tomato, has been the financial salvation of 
many a Kent farmer. The keiffer pear was first dis- 
covered near Philadelphia. The tree was a seedling 
which came up on a vacant lot in 1876. It is sup- 
posed to be a cross between the Chinese Send-Pear 
and the Bartlett. In 1896 Mr. Scarborough, mana- 
ger of four canneries in Kent, paid to the pear grow- 
ers over 116,000. The total crop of the county, even 
in this comparatively off crop year, is placed at 
200,000 baskets. The popular price that year was 
25 cents per basket, since which time the average 
price has been nearer 15 cents. The intimate rela- 
tion which the keiffer pear and the tomato crop have 
borne to the financial fortunes of the Kent County 
farmer sounds to the stranger like a fairy-tale of 
a dream-dove but unrealized prosperity. 

In 1912 there were raised in Kent County over 
25,000 tons of tomatoes for which the farmers were 
paid $9.60 per ton. Thus, the astounding sum of 
1240,000. Clifton L. Jarrell says he cleared |35 per 

History of Kent County, MxVryland 105 

acre off a hundred acres. Thomas J. Davis picked 
252 tons and 24 baskets off 23 acres. Thomas Fowler 
on State's Attorney Vickers' Flatland farm sokl 120 
tons off ten acres. H. C. Willis near Fairlee shipped 







i^^Bk IwHBHVV^^b 






^^rv'^ - 





1 ~ 







-. . 1 









the kennedy-lockwood farm, an up-to-date farm near 
kennedyville— william jewell, tenant. 

over tw^elve tons to the acre off ten acres the same 

Cooling stations established along the railroad in 
Kent County have superseded the creameries, and 
dairying has been given a new importance. The 
industry is but in its infancy. Mr. John N. Bennett 
in 1900 lived on Campbellworthmore, near Lynch's. 

166 History of Kent County, Maryland 

He kept a record of his creamery business, which is 
here given for that year: 

January 2,881 

February 8,539 

March 5,117 

April 6,69G 

May 12,273 

June 12,002 

July 7,836 

August 9,282 

September 7,238 

October 5,134 

November .. 4,361 

December 3,159 

















































Totals 79,519 $588.45 $18.34 $23.65 $546.29 

Amount of calves • • • 197.64 

Total revenue from 19 cows $985.74 

Sold 16 calves — amount 155.29 

Raised 3 calves at $15 each — amount 45.00 

Average amount from each cow 41.35 

Average amount of lbs. of milk from each cow 4,185 

During the past two years the following ship- 
ments of milk have been made from the cooling sta- 
tions along the Kent railroads : 

Cans, 1914 Cans, 1915 

Chestertown ' 10,811 10,906 

Worton 12,157 10,158 

Kennedyville 22.945 14,047 

Blacks 99 12,780 

Massey 16,210 14,787 

Totals 62,622 62,678 

Each can contains 11 1/^ gallons, so that the total 
shipment in 1915 was 720,900 gallons of milk which 
brought to the farmers thousands of dollars. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 1(>7 

The price for this milk varies from |1.20 to |2.00 
per cwt., according to test. 

Of course the staple crops of Kent Coimty are 
Avheat and corn. About 50,000 acres are so\ved in 
wheat, the average yield being about fifteen bushels 


per acre. There are about 35,000 acres in corn, the 
average yield being 27 bushels per acre. 

In 1888 Eugene M. Bouwill reaped 52 bushels of 
wheat per acre off his front field on his farm, near 

One of tlie largest public sales of real estate ever 
made in Kent County was that by Mr. Kichard 
Hynson on June 20, 18GG, wlien he disposed of over 
four thousand acres of land, included in which was 
the large estate of Edward Comegys, of which Mr. 

168 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Hynson was executor. As a matter of interest 
touching real estate values, it is not out of place 
to note some of the sales and prices on the occasion 
named. The Fairlee farm, 841 acres, was bought 
by T. W. Eliason, at |50.25 per acre; the Carville 


farm, 628 acres, to Mrs. A. R. Curry, for |28.00 ; the 
Freeman farm, 465 acres, to John M. Hudson, for 
163 per acre ; the Stewart farm, 343 acres, to P. T. 
Simmonds, for .f72 per acre; the home farm, 456 
acres, to Mrs. O. P. Jones, for |50.50 per acre; the 
Curry farm, 270 acres, to same, for same. Other 
sales made the total 4,0003^ acres, which averaged 
153.67 per acre, and a total sale by Mr. Hynson on 
this occasion of |214,794.07i/2. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 1G9 


Old Time Christmas in Kent. 

Dr. Peregrine WroWs Picture of the Holiday i)i 
Kent Written Nearly a Hundred Years Ago. 

No more charming picture can be found of old 
Yuletide customs in Kent County one hundred 
years ago than is written by Dr. Wroth, a distin- 
guished resident of Chestertown at that time. 
Among other things he says : "The tires blazed with 
a peculiar lustre at Christmas. Before the dawn 
of the day so long desired and longed for, the 
3'ounger members of the family (I am speaking of 
the family in the country) were up and doing. The 
young children had searched and emptied their 
stockings, which had been hung up the night before, 
of the good things which are annually supplied by 
old Kris Kringle. The capacious bowl of egg-nog 
was brewed; the hickory Yule log, which had been 
prepared days before with all ceremony, crackled 
and blazed on the ample hearth ; the servants, large 
and small, with their shining ebony faces and teeth 
of pearl, peeped through the half-open doors and 
windows, and all was prepared to salute the rising 
sun with the well-charged Christmas gun. As soon 
as the sun appeared the echoes of the report were 
brought back from the surrounding woods, where 
the older servants, men and women, came from the 
^'quarter," dressed in their new suits of home-made 
kersey, leading the children who could walk, and 

170 History of Kent County, Maryland 

carrying in their arms those who could not, and en- 
tered the 'great house' ("home of the master" was 
so called) to receive their Christmas dram from the 
hand of the master. This annual ceremony (daily 
through Christmas week) being over, the servants 
retired to the quarters, where they were regaled with 
a plentiful breakfast. This being dispatched, the 
banjo, a musical instrument which they brought 
with them from Africa, was introduced, and the 
merry dance began with the well-remembered words, 
'Jack butter in the fat; hop and git over dat.' Here 
we will leave them a while. In the great house, as 
they called it, egg-nog was handed round and all 
partook of the foaming beverage. After a breakfast 
of hot buckwheat cakes, well buttered, rolls and bis- 
cuit, and sometimes crackling Johnny cake and 
coifee, garnished with stuffed sausages, the family 
party began to assemble, and dining-room and par- 
lor were soon filled. In the meantime the cooks 
were busy in preparing the old gobbler for the spit, 
and the large dinner pot hanging over the fire was 
filled with a five-jear old ham and chines and other 
pork, with stores of vegetables, such as cabbage, 
potatoes, parsnips, etc. Potpies of goose or chicken 
were not forgotten, and ample provision had been 
previously made of minced pies, pumpkin pudding 
and plum pudding and many other things, some of 
them now unknown. 

"While dinner was preparing — to be served at 1 
o'clock, never later — the male members of the family 
party would while away the hours by shooting at 
a target or galloping around the neighborhood sip- 
ping his neighbor's egg-nog and romping with their 

History of Kent County, Maryland 171 

daughters. Hilarity reigned throughout the coun- 
try; but I assure you, my dear children, tliat in- 
toxication was unknown in genteel circles. All were 
cheerful but sober, and a modest kiss was considered 
no breach of decorum. 

''Let us now pay another visit to the 'quarter.' 
The servants, who were persuaded that no man in 
the country was so great as master, and who never 
approached him without lifting the hat or scraping 
the ground with the toe of the shoe, had their full 
share of unrestrained mirth and jollity. In every 
family there was a 'leader 0/ all sports' who regu- 
lated the festivities of the season. In mv father's 
'quarter this leader was Cuffee. He would place a 
large log in the front yard of the quarter, and boring 
a hole in it three or four inches deep with an auger, 
till it with water and plug it with a black hole from 
the fireplace. In the interval of the song and dance 
he would spring from the door, and striking a heavy 
blow with an axe on the hole in the log, jumj) high 
in the air, and, striking his feet together three times 
before he reached the ground, utter a loud shout as 
an echo to the report from the log, almost as loud as 
a gun. He would then return to his comrades in 
the quarter and give out a line of his unpremeditated 
song, to be answered by them in full chorus. The 
rhythm of these songs was such as that in Africa 
at this dav and was thence introduced into this 


country. I give a specimen: Leader — 'Work away, 
my brave boys.' Chorus — 'So, ho — ' (prolonged). 
Another specimen: 'Raccoon foot and 'possum tail, 
New Town gals will never fail.' " 

172 History of Kent County, Maryland 


City Council — Robert Moffett, Wm. L, Fowler and George 
R, Rouse. 

Clerk to Council — James W. Crouch. 
Attorney to Council — R. Groome Parks. 
Officers — Samuel S. Cooper and Beverly Hyland. 
Population, 1880—2,860, 1900—3,000; 1910—2,800. 
Tax rate, $0.60. 


History of Kent County, Maryland 173 


Chestertown — The County Town of Kent — Its EavJij 


Chestertown is the ''Gem City" of the Peninsula. 
Her feet are lightly touched by the placid and spark- 
ling waters of the Chester Eiver, whose origin is 
found in a spring near Smyrna, Del.; her head is 
crowned with verdant fields of golden grain and 
orchards of luscious fruits, while on her western 
skirts runs a brooklet whose base is to be traced far 
up the country. Her northern boundary is a rich, 
grassy glade where the undulating surface answers 
promptly to the agriculturist's demand, while on the 
west hundreds of wide-branched oaks fling their 
gnarled arms and waft breezes of purest ozone over 
the little city. 

The Tilghmans of The Hermitage, represented by 
so many honorable men, including the President of 
the Constitutional Convention of Maryland in 1774, 
arrived about 1655. They came from Snodland, in 
Kent. They took up many tracts, including ''Tilgh- 
man-and-Foxley Grove," upon which Chestertown 
was subsequently founded, then held, through an in- 
termarriage, by the Wilmers of Kent. Miss Tilgh- 
man, the original patentee of Chestertown, received 
1,000 acres from the crown-head of England. She 
died in 1688, leaving her property to Simon Wilmer 
and his wife, Rebecca. Xo land was deeded until 
more than one hundred years afterwards, except at 
the mill and outlying sections. In 1735 the lot now 

174 History of Kent County, Maryland 

occupied by Col. Vannort, corner of Maple avenue 
and Front street, was deeded to a Philadelphia cap- 
tain, and finally came into the Colonel's hands. 

In 1707 the place for the town and port, by pre- 
vious act at Yarmouth, Grey's Inn, was ordered 
deserted, and the town, with courthouse, etc., built 


at Chestertown. All towns, rivers, creeks and coves 
in Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne's, except Kent 
Island, to be members of the Port of Chestertown, 
on the Chester River. Fiftj^ acres were purchased 
at Chester Ferry, and the large brick house on 
Water street, foot of High street, was the custom 
house. It now belongs to W. W. Hubbard, and its 
vaults and tremendous rooms may be found in ex- 
cellent condition. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 175 

Henry Collister, an indentured servant, having 
acquired a fortune, owned the "town point" prop- 
erty, on Chester River, where Chestertown now 
stands, having become possessed of it in September, 

In 1755 war was declared against the French and 
their Indian allies, and Governor Sharpe called for 
volunteers. The Gazette of Februarv 0, 1755, savs: 
"At Chestertown several men enlisted before the 
drum was beat, and the officer, who wanted but 
thirty men, got his complement and marched with 
them. Such is the commendable spirit of that 
place." In September, 1756, a number of gentlemen 
of Chestertown fitted out a fine new ship called the 
"Sharpe," after the Governor, and commanded by 
Capt. Edw. Scott. It carried 26 carriage guns and 
20 swivels; 200 men manned her. This boat did 
valiant service against the French. 

The town was laid out by authority of an Act of 
Maryland passed in 1706, and was named in the 
law *'New Toa^ti." Its charter was revised in 1780 
and the name Chester Town given to it. In 1730 an 
ordinance was passed forbidding sheep, swine or 
geese to be raised within the Iotsti limits. On Janu- 
ary 27, 1806, "an act to appoint commissioners for 
the regulation and improvement of Chester Town, in 
Kent, and for other purposes," was passed. A meet- 
ing was held in the old courthouse in May, 1806, 
and F. A. Dinsmore, then clerk, fixed the bounds 
as follows: Easterly, by the lands of Miss Smith; 
northerly, by lands of Wm. H. Wilmer; westerly, 
by the poor house lands; southerly, by lands of 
Thomas Worrell and Robert Wright and Chester 

176 History of Kent County, Maryland 

River. The limits of the town at present include all 
that property within a line beginning at the river, 
near the residence of H. H. Barroll, Esq., and run- 
ning thence and inclosing all the College lands to 


centre of bridge at mill ; thence in a southerly direc- 
tion through the John N. Usilton propertj^ to the 
point of intersection of the lands of Walter Wright 
Avith Hubbard's factory, and thence with the division 
line between said lands to Chester River. 

Among the first clerks were William Lassell and 
David Arthur. In 1816 William Wheeler was bailiff, 

History of Kent County, Maryland 177 

and in 1821 James Dawson was wood corder ; in 1839 
Thomas J. Carroll was market master; from 1856 
to 1868 William Webb was bailiff and market master 
and court crier; in 1860 Edward Ryland was weigh 

In George Washington's diary for August, Sep- 
tember and October, 1774, we glean the following 
interesting facts : "On September 1st, I breakfasted 
at Queen Anne's, in Prince George's County, dined 
in Annapolis and lodged at Rock Hall, and remained 
there until September 2d, in order to await the 
arrival of my two horses." Rock Hall was then the 
upper or northern terminus of the Annapolis Packet 
Ferry, where a good hotel was kept. From Rock 
Hall there was a well-traveled road through Ches- 
tertown, by the head of Sassafras to New Castle, 
Del. The Rock Hall farm, in 1774, was owned by 
Richard Spencer, who was a grandson of James 
Spencer, of Spencer Hall, on Eastern Neck Island. 
A part of Rock Hall was sold to James Ringgold, of 
Huntingfield, in 1779, and the Rock Hall Ferry was 
maintained up to about 1846, the old wharves being 
still visible. Washington arrived in Chestertown, or 
New Town, on the Chester, late in the afternoon of 
September 2, 1774, and stopped at the tavern located 
on the corner of Cannon and Princess streets. Not 
only did Washington stop there, but all the delegates 
who went to the Continental Congress in Philadel- 
phia in 1774 did so. On his return, in October, he 
is said to have stopped at the hotel kept in the build- 
ing now occupied and owned by Mr. Thomas W. 
Eliason, on High street. The whole cost for travel- 

178 History of Kent County, Maryland 

ing expenses was ten pounds, and for incidentals, 
etc., the total amount was two hundred tifty-one 


History of Kent County, Maryland 170 


''The 'White House' Farm." 

History of the Old Colonial Estate on a Part of 
Which Chestertoivn noic Stands. 

Among the annals of colonial and subsequent 
times that have happily been preserved, few are more 
interesting among family records than some facts 
connected with the hospitable and beautiful home of 
the late Mr. Frisby Gordon, and for many years the 
home of the late William S. Walker. It is now the 
property of Walter Wright, a part of which is 
occupied by the Kent and Queen Anne's Association. 
Situated on the very edge of ChestertowTi, its fields 
running to the river on one side, this pleasant, pic- 
turesque home was called for many years "The 
White House." The same family has owned it for 
several generations, as Mrs. Walker is a lineal 
decendent of the first proprietor. The original grant 
of the land was conferred upon the early English 
colonist, Dr. Richard Tilghman, and the tract thus 
patented included what is now the site of Chester- 

By the will of Marie Foxley Tilghman, who sur- 
vived her husband and was executrix of his estate, 
we learn that one of their daughters named 
''Rebecca" married Simon Wilmer (another colonist 
from England) about 1679. Marie Foxley Tilgh- 
man— the widow of Dr. Richard Tilghman— in 1088 
conveyed by deed to this daughter, Rebecca Wilmer, 

180 History of Kent County, Maryland 

and her husband, a part of his estate, located on the 
Kent side of Chester River known as ''Tilghman and 
Foxley Grove," containing 1,000 acres and which 
finally received the name of "Stepney," the "White 
House" farm. The Day Star by G. L. L. Davis, 
Esq., a Maryland historian, affirms that Chestertown 
is located on the tract above mentioned as "Tilgh- 
man and Foxley Grove." Their son, Simon, and 
grandson, Lambert Wilmer, inherited this home 
place ; their children intermarrying with the Gordon 
family and the Tylden families; these last inter- 
marrying with the Hynson family, make the chil- 
dren of these branches lineal decendents of the first 
Richard and Marie Foxlev Tilohman. 

The "White House" remained in the possession of 
the Wilmers until 1820, when it was conveyed by 
one Simon Wilmer to his first cousin, Mrs. Marv 
Frisby Gordon, whose mother was a Wilmer, and 
whose granddaughter oA^Tied it until the last few 
years when it was sold to Mr. Wright. Some of the 
early Wilmers have long slept in the family burial 
ground on this "White House" farm. Among the 
later ones interred there is a sister of the late Judge 
John B. Eccleston, whose husband was "Ringgold 

Rev. Simon Wilmer, the grandfather of the former 
Bishop of Alabama, married his cousin, who was 
called "the beautiful Miss Ann Ringgold," and lived 
on this "W^hite House" farm. This Rev. Simon is 
seen on horseback, wearing his broad-brimmed cleri- 
cal hat, in the highly-prized landscape painting, by 
Charles Wilson Peale, and on the porch are Mrs. 
Wilmer and another ladv, either Mrs. Wilmer's 

History of Kext County, Maryland LSI 

sister or daughter, it is believed. lu the distance is 
Chestertown, the Episcopal Church and A\'asliiiio-- 
ton College being the most prominent bnihlings in 

The original plot of the ^' White House" farm 
designates it as a "tobacco plantation," showing but 
one house from the river to the mill. 


182 History of Kent County, Maryland 


Throtving Tea Overboard in the Chestertovni Earhor 
— The Early Plays and Operas — Great Racing 
Events — Home Novel Ordinances — Mail Facilities. 

The brigantine Geddes arrived in Chester town in 
1774 with a small lot of dutiable tea for some of the 
neio^hborino; counties. The inhabitants assembled in 
town meeting May 13, and held indignation meet- 
ings and threw the tea overboard. This same day 
the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor. In 
June and July Chestertown received a letter from 
Boston thanking citizens for benevolence towards 
the poor of the metropolis. It seems as if this to^vn 
was the only place in Maryland that sent subscrip- 
tions to Boston and Charlestown, Mass. They sent 
several vessels loaded with provisions. 

In 1752 Hallam and Henry performed in a thea- 
tre here the plays entitled ''Richard III" and "The 
Beggar's Opera." Every fall and spring there were 
races in Chestertown, back of what is now Mr. John 
Bell's farm, commencing about 1750. The Chester- 
town races were particularly celebrated, and on this 
course Maryland and Virginia often contended 
together, as also did the gentlemen breeders of Kent, 
Queen Anne's and Talbot counties. On the 24th of 
November, 1766, for instance, a race was run here 
for a purse of 100 pistols (3.60) expressly offered 
by the gentlemen of the place, in order to bring 
together "the two most famous horses on the con- 
tinent." These were Yorick, of Virginia, and Selim, 

History of Kent County, Maryland 183 

of Marjland. Yorick had won several matches and 
Selini had never been beaten. The race was for 4 
mile heats; a big crowd was present and Selim won. 
Kaces lasted a week, and closed with a ball and 
grand opera. Man}' ladies were present, w liile many 
fine old Virginia gentlemen would be present and 


bet their negroes on the result. Courts were 
adjourned and schools dismissed. Endurance, rather 
than speed, was the quality expected of the raceis. 

In 1710 the Sheriff of Kent received GOO pounds of 
tobacco for conveying letters and packages to and 
from the Capital seat. 

Some of the ordinances passed in ISOO did not 
allow a negro or slave to be on the street after 10 
o'clock at night without permit from master or mis- 
tress. No negro residing out of town was allowed 
to remain in town after T o'clock in winter ami in 

184 History of Kent County, Maryland 

summer. This was kept up until 1860. The church 
bell on the Protestant Episcopal Church, the only 
bell in town, was the signal for the colored people 
to leave. A chimney sweeper was appointed by the 
town, and for many years old Chester Wilmer was 
the appointee. 

In 1826 we find the people advertising for a school- 
master and requiring that he must keep away from 
"tippling shops." 

In 1781 five men crossed the bav on the ice, and 
in 1836, on February 16, five men came across the 
bay on the ice and returned. 

The postmaster of Chestertown in 1821 was 
Joseph ReDue, who was Sheriff in 1827, and Inspec- 
tor of the Port of Chester until abolished by Con- 
gress in 1850. From 1826 to 1852 he was President 
of the Board of Town Commissioners. In 1870 the 
salary of the postmaster at Chestertown was |780; 
Kennedyville, |200; Still Pond, |125; Millington, 
1220; Rock Hall, |65, and Chesterville, |200. The 
mail route between Lankford and Chestertown was 
established in 1870. In February, 1899, a mail route 
was established between Price's Station and Ches- 
tertown, and an afternoon mail given to the citizens. 

The present postmaster is T. D. Bowers, who suc- 
ceeded M. Wilbur Thomas. The salary is about 
|2,300, with allowance for rent, clerk hire of five 
men and fuel. There are rural routes starting at 
Chestertown served by W. B. Ashley, Rock Hall; 

D. B. Kendall, over bridge in Queen Anne's; Thos. 
Willis, Fred. S. Russell, Walter Hadaway, Charles 

E. Woods. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 185 


186 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Col. Henry Hollingsworth, at Elkton, and Elisha 
Winters, at ChestertoAvn, were large manufacturers 
of muskets for the army of the Revolution, and the 
grain mills of Cecil and Kent furnished large sup- 
plies to the soldiers. Col. Isaac Perkins, of Kent, 
was indefatigable in his work of purchasing corn 
and wheat for the militar}- authorities, and in or- 
ganizing the militia, and was an efficient and gallant 
officer in the held. The house on High street, Ches- 
tertown, now owned bv Mrs. Wm. B. Usilton was 
one of the places where guns were made by a man 
named Smith and the house was afterwards used as 
a carriage factory, paint shop, etc. 

Private capital, aided by the government of Mary- 
land, conducted a large armory here during the Rev- 
olutionary War, and an old relic in the shape of a 
cannon was found and has been preserved to this 
da}^ This is the cannon that stood for so many 
years in front of the old Market House, then put in 
the school yard on Cross street, on the site of Davis 
& Satterfield's plant. It was remioved by Mr. John 
S. Vandergrift, a member of the old Kent Guards, 
and for 16 vears was buried in front of his barber 
shop and used as a hitching post. It now adorns 
the grounds about the home of Hope H. Barroll, 
Esq., on Chester River, near Chestertown. It weighs 
2,500 pounds. 

A sad incident of Fourth of July celebrations oc- 
curred in Chestertown in 1845. The big cannon was 
located near the old engine house and pointed down 
Cross street. Just as one of the salutes was being 
fired, a colored woman, with a baby in her arms, was 
crossing over from A. L. Spark's (Candy Kitchen) 

History of Kent County, ^[aryland 187 

corner to Bordley's corner. The wad from the can 
non struck the child, which was the daughter of 
Captain Vanhorn. and killed it instantly. 

In July, 1898, a meeting was held in Stam's Hall 
and resulted in the formation of the Ladies' Town 
Improvement Society. Every citizen and visitor 
points with pride to the results accomplished by 
this society. The public squares attest to their taste 
and aesthetic skill. ^Irs. Thomas W. Eliason was 
the first president. The Fountain Day in Chester- 
town was a great occasion. Through the kindness 
of Dr. C. A. Grise, of WilnVington, the fountain 
which now adorns Kent Square was brought to the 
attention of the ladies. Wednesday, June 15, 1890, 
a committee consisting of Mrs. Hope H. Barroll, 
Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur W. Hubbard, and Fred. G. 
Usilton purchased the |1,200 fcmntain. The honor 
of unveiling the fountain was won after an inter- 
esting contest by Miss Ida Orem Smith, daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Smith. Hon. James A. 
Pearce presided, and addresses were made by Gen. 
F. C. Latrobe, Harrison W. Vickers and Col. Wil 
liam J. Vannort. Without detracting from the work 
of the ladies, the personal supervision given to 
grading, laying walks and arranging for the foun- 
tain and park by Mr. W. W. Hubbard is worthy of 

Mrs. Hope H. Barroll, Mrs. James A. Pearce, ^Mrs. 
W. W. Hubbard, Mrs. W. B. Copper, ^Irs. M. A. 
Toulson, Mrs. William J. Vannort, Mrs. J. H. Spen- 
cer, Mrs. James Brice, Mrs. Joel R. Clements, Mrs. 
W. F. Jarrell, Mrs. Physick, Mrs. J. D. Bacchus, 
Mrs. R. H. Collins, Mrs. C. E. Crane, Mrs. L. W. 

188 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Wickes, Mrs. William F. Kussell, Mrs. Allan A. 
Harris, Mrs. H. G. Simpers, Mrs. Merrick Clements, 
Mrs. C. R. Twilley and other ladies have given much 
time to these public improvements. A public drink- 
ing fountain is the gift of the Hon. James A. Pearce 
and occupies a place on the edge of the square on 
Cross street. Mrs. Harriett L. Hill donated a foun- 
tain near the News Building, at the head of Center 
Square. Only those who remember old conditions, 
and can now see the wonderful changes, can appre- 
ciate the magnificent work done by these ladies in so 
short a time. Unsightly buildings, such as the mar- 
ket house, engine house, have disappeared ; dump 
heaps in the center of the town have given place to 
grass plots, and a fountain sends up a cooling spray 
within a few feet of where was before a grazing lot 
for livery horses, or, after a rain, a pond for wading 
birds; shade trees now throw cooling shadows along 
cement walks through the large square. Woman as 
a factor in town improvement has been a brilliant 
success in Chestertown. She has done in three years 
what the men of Chestertown would not have accom- 
plished in three centuries. 

The first horseless carriage (automobile) ever 
seen in Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, arrived in Chestertown Tuesday, August 8, 
1900. It came from Tolchester, driven by Mr. Clark, 
accompanied by John S. Vandergrift. It took just 
50 minutes to make the run. It was not many 
months afterwards wiien Mr. J. H. Sides and Dr. 
H. B. Simmons each were driving horseless car- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 180 










190 History of Kent County, Maryland 


The Noted Chester Bridge — Paradise for Lovers — 
A Rendezvous for Fishermen — Some Events That 
Have Transpired in Chestertoicn. 

Chester Bridge, which spans Chester River, was 
begun in 1802 by tlie following committee: Robert 
Wright, Benjamin Chambers, Samuel Chew, Wil- 
liam McKenney and Richard Tilghman, of Chester- 
town ; James Brown, William Chambers, R. E. Har- 
rison, Charles Vanderen and W. B. Hackett, of 
Queen Anne's. S. Betz, Thomas S. Burgess and 
Richard Frisby were afterwards named to fill vacan- 
cies. Chapter 76 of 1821 states that the bridge has 
been actually built and authorized a lottery to be 
drawn to reimburse those who erected it by private 
subscriptions. It was built by William Vannort, of 
Trenton, X. J., the grandfather of Col. William J. 
Vannort, Samuel Vannort and Mrs. J. H. Simpers. 
Mr. Vannort fell into the river the day it was 
completed and died a few days later from pleurisy. 
The stock of the company was put at |40,000, at |50 
per share. The bridge was afterwards burned, the 
drawer changed and the whole rebuilt by lottery. 
In July, 1890, the bridge was purchased by the two 
counties of Kent and Queen Anne's for |11,400, and 
made free, it being previous to that time a toll 
bridge. As high as 500 teams crossed this bridge 
in one day during 1895. Cupid has found many a 
victim on this structure. 

As for fishing, this bridge is sometimes lined with 
white and colored anglers, and some fine rock, perch 

History of Kent County, Maryland UM 

and catfish have been hinded. In earlier years, wlien 
wild game was more plentiful than now, this was a 
favorite place from which local sportsmen brought 
down wild ducks. 

It was over this bridge that many of the sliows 
came to town, and many remember when the pro- 
prietors of a large circus made the elephant swim 
the river because of the reported unsafe condiliou 
of the bridge. 

The State Roads Commission took over this bridge 
in 1914 and propose to replace it with a magnificent 
concrete structure, it being a part of the imjiroved 
macadam road which has been built bv the State 
from the Delaware line clear through to Ocean Citv. 

By Geofge Alfred Towxsexd. 

Wise is the wild duck winging straight to thee, 
River of summer; from the cold Arctic sea, 
Coming like his fathers for centuries, to seek 
The sweet, salt pastures of tue far Chesapeake. 

S^vift 'twixt thy capes like sunset's purple coves. 
Shallow the channel glides through silent oyster groves. 
Round Kent's ancient isle by beeches brown. 
Cleaving the fruity farms to hustling Chestertown. 

Still like thy water-fowl yearly do I yearn 
In memory's migration once more to return, 
Where the dear old college from the gentle ridge 
O'erlooks the sunny village, the river and bridge. 

On the pier decrepit I do loiter yet. 

With my crafty crab lines and my homespun net, 

Till the silver fishes in pools of twilight swam. 

And stars played round my bait in the coves of calm. 

Sweet were the chinquapins growing by thy brink. 
Sweet the cool spring water in the gourd to drink. 
Beautiful the lilies when the tide declined, 
As if night receding had left some stars behind. 

192 History of Kent County, Mary^land 

But when the peach tints vanished from the plain. 
Or struggled no longer the shad against the seine. 
Every reed in thy marsh unto music stirred, 
And to gold it blossomed in a singing bird. 

Silent the otter, stealing by the moon 

Through the marshy places, hears the howl of the loon; 

Motionless the setter in the dawnlight gray, 

Shows the happy hidden cove where the wild ducks play. 

Hrmely are thy boatmen, venturing no more 

In their dusky pungies than to Baltimore, 

Happy when the freshet from northern mountains sweeps. 

And strews the bay with lumber like wrecks upon the deep. 

From the mightier Empire of the solid land, 

A pilgrim infrequent I seek thy fertile strand, 

And with a calm affection would wish my grave to be 

Where falls the Chester to the bay, the bay unto the sea. 

The records show that as early as 1648 the dig- 
nity of the court and the sacredness of the oath 
was most jealously gnarded in Kent, bnt at the same 
time it shows that perjnry was not unknown, as 
was attested by the sentence of one John Gonore, 
who was convicted of swearing falsely "att a conrt 
held at Henry Morgan's att Kent, 22nd January." 
John Gonore, not having anything to say for his 
defense, more than that it was the first time that 
he ever committed the like offense, the court 
adjudged him to be nailed by both ears to the pillory 
with a nail in each ear, and the nails to be slit out, 
and afterwards to be whipped with 20 good lashes. 
And this to be executed immediately before any 
other business of court be proceeded upon. 

Two clippings from the old Maryland Gazette 
throw light upon that period in the life of the 
town : 

'^Friday, May 3, 1745 — At Kent county school in 
Chestertown, Maryland, young gentlemen boarded, 

History of Kent County, ^Mauylaxd lOli 

and taught the Greek and Latin Tongues, Writing, 
Arithmetic, Merchants, Accounts, Surveying, Navi- 
gation, the use of the Globes b}' the hirgest pair in 
America; also any other parts of the Mathematics, 
by Charles Peale. 

"N. B. Young gentlemen may be instructed in 
Fencing and Dancing by very good blasters.'' 

In the issue of the Maryland Gazette of Friday, 
June 14, 1745, was this item: "On Friday last 
Hector Grant, James Hornev and Ester Anderson 
were executed at Chester, in Kent County, jiursuant 
to their sentence for the murder of their late mas- 
ter. The men were hanged, the woman burned. 
They died penitent, acknowledging their crimes and 
the justice of their punishment.-' 

What the ground for the barbarous discrimina- 
tion between the punishment of the men and of the 
woman does not appear, and its justification would 
seem to be difficult. 

During the late Civil War Chestertown, like hun- 
dreds of other places, became the temporary home 
of the soldier. From October 7, 1861, to February 
7, 18G2, a regiment of Federal soldiers known then 
as the 2nd Eastern Shore Maryland Volunteers, un- 
der the command of the late Col. Edward Wilkins, 
encamped on the land of the late Dr. Thomas H. 
Whaland, near Chestertown. 

Dr. Whaland's lands were at the time of the en- 
campment in hay and wheat, and during tlie six 
months' occupancy these crops were totally de- 
stroyed. Up to the present time the Government 
has never made any payment to Dr. \\'haland or 
his heirs in the discharge of what seems to be a 

194 History of Kent County, Maryland 

debt incurred purely in the interest of the United 

One of the biggest events in Chestertown's his- 
tory was on August 8, 1851, when three men were 
hanged for the murder of William Cosden and fam- 
ily, on the Moody farm. They were taken to the 
Whaland lot, adjoining Chester cemetery, seated in 
an open wagon, followed by two troops of dragoons 
commanded by Captains Beck and Wallis of Kent, 
also a troop from Queen Anne's and a civil corps of 
200 men, all under Col. William Camp. There were 
8,000 people in town, five steamers being at the 
wharf, and many people slept all night in tents so 
as to be here at sunrise. 

Another notable event was that of the celebration 
of the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to 
the Constitution of the United States by the colored 
people. Over 3,000 persons were in line, with flags, 
transparencies and decorated wagons. The ''Wor- 
ton Band" gave a second rendition of the "Old Cow" 
with variations. Speeches were made in the woods 
by General Crawford, H. K. Torbert, Rev. H. H. 
Garnett and a number of others. 

On October 11, 1882, the Democratic Judicial Con- 
vention met in the old Armory and nominated Hon. 
John M. Robinson for chief judge and Hons. 
Joseph A. Wickes and Frederick Stump for asso- 
ciates. At night the nominees were serenaded at 
the Voshell House by the Excelsior Band, and 
speeches from the balcony were made by ex-Gov- 
ernor Philip Frank Thomas, Col. William Henry 
Legg and others. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 195 

On August 28, 1893, one of the higliest tides ever 
known was witnessed in Chestertown, as the result 
of a heavy rain and strong east wind. Rowboats 
skimmed about Water street as far up as Mrs. 
Brown's residence, and persons from ;>rrs. A\'atts' 
boarding-house (the old Chambers residence) had 
to be boated across to High street. The water was 
nine feet above the mean level, and, according to Mr. 
Charles Estes, it was six inches higher than in 187G. 
It was impossible to do any cooking in many of the 
dwellings along the river, and many were compelled 
to go elsewhere for eatables. The families living in 
the submerged district were W. N. E. Wickes, Dr. 
W. F. Hines, E. F. Perkins, Mrs. Barroll, Mrs. 
Meeteer, B. F. Fleming, H. M. Brown, K. D. Hyn- 
son, J. K. Aldridge, Mrs. M. E. Watts, E. C. Reiche, 
John Brice. 

An event of more than passing interest was the 
great Children's Carnival, held at Chestertown in 
May, 1898. Four hundred children, beautifully 
costumed, paraded the streets to the music of two 
bands, while several street pianos enlivened the 
public square. Frizes were awarded for various 
excellencies and ice-cream served to all. At night 
declamation and singing contests were held in 
Stam's Hall. Several thousand people were in town, 
and every citizen vied in decorating and making it 
a great occasion. 

Monday evening, September 25, 1910, Chestertown 
was the scene of the largest conflagration ever wit- 
nessed here. The blaze started in Davis & Satter- 
field's blacksmith shop at 7 P. M., and burned for 
four hours. Twentv business houses and a half 

196 History of Kent County, Maryland 

dozen homes burned. Cheste^to^^^l's Volunteer Fire- 
men, under Chief Harry Cannon, did heroic work 
and got control of the flames when the}' reached 
IMoffett's store on High street, across from Voshell 
House. AYilmington sent aid, arriving here at 11.30 
o'clock, and connected their hose with the river, 
and did good work on the dying embers. Loss fOO,- 
000, covered by insurance to about one-half. Tempo 
rar}^ business structures were erected on the square 
opposite the Court House until new places could 
be constructed. Elegant brick business houses re- 
placed the burned buildings. 

History of Kent County, ^rAUYLANo III' 


Notahle Houses in Chesfertotvn— First Hotels- 
Chester Cemetery Donated — The Old Graveyard 
— The Neivspapers. 

Chestertown contains a number of stately homes 
suggesting- the generous styles which prevailed 
among those of wealth or influence. Conspicuous 
among these was the Wright house on the river — 
afterwards the home of Judge Ezekiel F. Chambers, 
and now the residence of Wilbur W. Hubbard. 
This is a fine example of the dignified architecture 
of the period. The old Bowers home in the center 
of the town, owned and occupied by Judge John B. 
Eccleston, was most impressive by reason of its 
surroundings. It occupied almost an entire large 
square, enclosed b}' a high brick wall, pierced by 
several grated gates which gave charming glimpses 
of the noble grove of horse chestnuts in which the 
house was set. The dwelling was of simple archi- 
tecture, with ample hall and rooms, long sloping 
roof embracing a deep porch, and with unobtrusive 
view of the river at the foot of the street. It yielded 
in 1863 or 1864 to the march of improvement and the 
grounds are now the site of the princii>al hotel of 
the town, the home of Samuel Vannort, and of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

T. W. Eliason's building was in use in 1775 as a 
hotel, the oflice occupied by Wm. Eliason being 
used as a bar room. In 1855 Mr. Eliason purchased 
it of the heirs of the original patentees of the town, 

198 History of Kent County, Maryland 

and since then it has been used for mercantile pur- 
poses. This building was a contemporary of B. F. 
Fleming's home, Mrs. DeCorse's "Beck" house, the 
Westcott Foundry House, and other buildings. It 
was in this building, now replaced by dwellings, that 
the society known as the ''Sons of the Revolution" 
was formed. A hotel was kept on Queen street, 
where Mr. William Robinson's shoe shop and house 
stood. It was kept hj a Mr. Poston, and afterwards 
by a Mr. Ware, and in June, 1861, by Charles 
Thompson, giving way in later years to a private 

The old jail was built in 17934, and cost 1,200 
pounds. The commissioners were Jeremiah Nichols, 
Richard Tilghman, Benjamin Chambers, Simon 
Wilmer, James Smith; Thomas Worrell, sheriff. 
The present jail was built in 1881, by H. M. Stuart, 
contractor, at a cost of |13,500. The commissioners 
were C. P. Loper, John B. Parrott, R. C. Smyth, V. 
Hendrickson and J. Charles Wheatley; John W. 
Parsons was sheriff. The present Court House was 
built in 1860, Mr. Thomas W. Eliason being at the 
head of the committee; Judge Chambers on the 
bench. The county levied |12,000, but the cost was 
only 111,254. 

Armstrong's hotel was built in 1879, and is now 
turned into a garage and rooming house. 

In January, 1784, a market was established on the 
^^Square," afterwards improved by the old Market 
House, which was torn down in 1895, and for years 
all wagons were compelled to come to this place to 
sell their vegetables, poultry, etc. A wood corder 

History of Kent County, Maryland 1!)0 

was appointed in 1792, and he got six-pence for each 
cord. A cord was 8 feet long and 4x4. 

Tlie Voshell House was opened in 18G4, and tlie 
cost was 128,000. C. T. Kinggold was the con- 

■ "MHB'y^ !^ 


LADIES OF town. 

tractor. It is now the property of J. S. Bradley, 
who bought it of Capt. W. D. Burchinal, for |11,300, 
and managed by Geo. Lambert and his mother, 

''Aunt Tempie." 

In 18G3 the whole square now occupied by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, Samuel Vannort, Mrs. 
Moody and others was purchased by :\rrs. A. W. 
Voshell for |5,506. 

200 History op Kent County, Maryland 

In 1883 the first steps w ere taken to discard the 
old graveyard that was walled around and estab- 
lished in the last century. When the new jail was 
built the remains were taken up and removed to 
other burial places. Among the remains were Capt. 
Aquilla M. Usilton, who commanded a company of 
artillery at the battle of Caulk's Field; he died in 
1838; Anthony Banning, died December 27, 1787, 
aged 47; and Capt. James Crane, who lost his life 
from falling off his horse in April, 1798. 

Chester cemetery was donated by Hon. George 
Yickers in 1861, and is one of the most beautiful 
burying places in the State. In 1880 H. W. Yickers, 
Esq., was elected president of the company. A neat 
iron fence incloses the grounds. The first body in- 
terred there was that of the late Senator Jas. A. 

The Watts House was known as the "Exchange 
Hotel" in 1827, and was kept by George Neal. The 
late John Hall kept the place for many years, and 
was followed by S. H. Crawford. T. W. Eliason 
bought the property several years ago and improved 
it. Miss Watts now conducts the house successfully. 

Chestertown was poorly provided with a town hall 
until Colin F. Stam, one of its enterprising citizens, 
constructed the hall which now bears his name in 
1886, at a cost of about |15,000. The town clock was 
placed there b}^ subscriptions from citizens of the 
town, at a cost of about |1,000. On account of the 
failing health of Mr. Stam, he concluded to sell this 
property for |12,500 to the following company: H. 
H. Barroll, T. E. Hayes, Thos. G. Wroth, H. W. 
Yickers, E. H. Collins. Mr. Stam died in August, 

History of Kent County, Maryland 201 


An old' 
timo hatol 

now belonging to THOMAS W. ELIASON, ON HIGH STREET. 


202 History of Kent County, Maryland 

1898. It was afterwards sold to a company headed 
by L. B. Russell, remodeled and greatly improved 
and the name changed to Chestertown Lyceum. The 
Postoffice was moved into this building in 1914 and 
the Stam Drug Company took the building opposite. 
Books were opened in 1827 to receive subscrip- 
tions to build Masonic Hall, now known as the Kent 
News Building. The ground, 60 x 40 feet, was given 
the order (Clinton Lodge) by an act of the Legisla- 
ture in 1826. It has been changed over and over 
again, and is noAV occupied by S. Scott Beck, Beck- 
Walker Co., Frank V. Simpers and the "Xews." It 
is owned by Fred G. Usilton, who purchased it in 
1896. The Kent News removed to this building in 
December, 1851. In 1825 the Chestertown Tele- 
graph, the first newspaper ever published in the 
county, was under the proprietorship of a Mr. 
Michael, who was succeeded by Mr. Cann. In the 
'30- s the name of the paper was changed to the Kent 
Bugle and was published for some years by Capt. 
Wm. P. Mathews. A copy of the Bugle dated 
September 9, 1837, gives the market as follows: 
Wheat, white, |1.60 and |1.70; red, |1.50 and 
11.55; corn, yellow, 90c. and 92c.; white, 90c. 
and 95c.; rye, 70c. oats, 30c. Captain Mathews 
was succeeded by George Vickers, then came 
Spencer and Crane, then owned by the late 
Senator Vickers. In 1839, the name of the paper 
was changed to the Kent News. In 1849 to '58 
it was published by Edward Mansfield. James M. 
Vickers took charge and published the paper until 
November, 1860. On the 17th of November, James 
H. Plummer and Wm. B. Usilton became the editors. 

History of Kent County, Maryland lMI3 

It is now owned hj Wm. B, Usilton's sons, FilmI. (}. 
and William B. 

The second oldest paper is the Transcript, founded 
by Eben F. Perkins, Esq., in 18G0. Major Perkins 

front of th^ old ^tijlG 


was succeeded in its publication bv the late Samuel 
E. Sullivan, formerly publisher of the Centreville 
Times. Mr. Sullivan was succeeded by Mr. Casper 
G. Woodall, also of Queen Anne's, who disposed of 
the paper to Collins & Hopper, both of well-known 
Queen Anne's families. They were succeeded by a 
company and the editors are R. Harrison Collins 
and Thomas D. Bowers. 

204 History of Kent County, Maryland 

An incident of that period of 1860 is here given : 
General Schenek had charge of the Department of 
Maryland with headquarters in Baltimore; John 
Frazier was '^provost marshall of Kent County/' and 
military law was in the ascendant. The county 
elections were about to take i^lace. J. B. Ricaud 
was the Union candidate for State Senator and J. 
K. Hines for clerk. John Frazier wanted to be clerk 
himself, and a full ticket was put out with his name 
at the head, and on the day before the election two 
large government transport steamers arrived in 
Chester town loaded with soldiers — cavalry and in- 
fantry. The military officers proceeded to arrest 
every one presumed to be in the way of Frazier's 
ambition for the clerkship ! Hines and Ricaud, Col. 
Edw. Wilkins and other candidates were seized ; the 
jail was forced open and prisoners released, and 
Deputy-Sheriff Benjamin placed under arrest; next 
came the judges of election — John T. Dodd, Charles 
Stanley and Thomas Baker — who were accompanied 
by a squad of soldiers to the prison steamer to keep 
the others company. Lastly the News office was sur- 
rounded by soldiers and an armed squad invaded 
it and issued orders for the conduct of the election 
which was to take place the following day. In 
troubling the types they ruined their cause. The 
editors Avere directed to print a certain circular 
order, which they refused to do at first, but after- 
wards wisely changed their minds. They printed the 
order and retained a copy. It w^as to the effect that 
at the election next day nothing but a League ticket 
should be voted and soldiers at every poll in Kent 
County were directed to see this carried out. The 

History of Kent County, Maryland LM)."; 

editors were then honored like the others — tli;il is, 
placed in charge of armed soldiers and niarcluMl to 
the wliarf, where they found in the dark h)\ver 
saloon of one of the steamers the distinguished citi- 
zens previously arrested. About ten o'clock the 
steamers landed the prisoners in Baltimore; on the 
Avay over they met two transports loaded with Home 
Guards coming home to vote. Imagine their sur- 
prise upon reaching home to find Avliat had been 
done. Great indignation was expressed and an in- 
formal election was held in one of the camps wlien 
Hines beat Frazier ten to one. George Vickers and 
George B. Westcott went to Baltimore by rail and 
the infamous political plot was exposed to General 
Schenck. The General expressed great indignation 
and said: ''Gentlemen, if there is a steamer in Bal- 
timore harbor that can be had that can do it, you 
shall be landed at Chestertown bv davbreak I" He 
made his word good. Just as the day was breaking 
the "prisoners-' were landed at Thompson's wharf, 
and before noon Frazier and his man Tevis were 
under arrest and on their wav to Baltimore. 

Rock Hall — Its Early Days. 

Somewhere about 1707 Rock Hall, that liabitat oC 
the watermen, was picked out by the cohniists as a 
place of abode, and since then has grown into a 
thriving town of many hundreds. New Yarmouth, 
Grey's Inn, was picked out as the capital some years 
previous, but this was changed in 1707 ;uid moved to 
Chestertown. The old Rock Hall packet is now only 
a memory. It landed the mails, passengers and 

206 History op Kent County, Maryland 

products of the land and water three times a week 
on Bowly's wharf. Kain or shine, wind or calm, the 
packet came. It was owned by Captain Harris, who 
could not see that steamboats must take the place 
of his sailing packet. For some years he fought 
against his harbor being a landing, although the 
natural outlet for Kent County, being in the bay 
and the nearest point to Baltimore, and in former 
days the route by which passengers reached the 
South, a regular daily packet sailing for Annapolis, 
which was fitted up with every convenience for man, 
beast and carriages. George Washington and other 
noted men in their diaries refer to the trip from 
Annapolis to Kock Hall on a large schooner. The 
opposition of Captain Harris, who feared the steam- 
boats would ruin his packet business, compelled the 
steamboat owners to select another point, Grey's 
Inn, for a landing place, which, although only two 
miles from Eock Hall, was twenty-five miles farther 
from Baltimore, and a four to five hours' trip, in- 
stead of less than two, as at present. The Govern- 
ment has had the old landing at Rock Hall dug out, 
and a fine, safe harbor is now open to the public, 
with one of the best piers and warehouses to be 
found on the bay. But owing to the fact that Cap- 
tain Sharp, the owner, wanted to dictate a certain 
schedule for steamers, the Chester River Steamboat 
Company bought land and built a wharf at Grati- 
tude, which has continued to be used to this day. 
The Sharp wharf was used for a few years as a stop- 
ping place for the Enterprise Company. It was no 
uncommon thing to see a hundred carriages there 
waiting for the arrival of the packet, which seldom 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2fl7 

failed to arrive on time, as the packet was fitted up 
with sweeping oars and hands to work them in case 
of a calm. In former times Rock Hall was only 
known as a landing, with an old house, postottice 
and stabling, but now the farm on the bay, known 
from the earliest date of Kent's history as Rock 
Hall, taking its name not from the rocks, of which 
there are none to be seen, but from a large haul of 
rock fish before Baltimore had a corporation. 

Lately the name has been usurped by the village 
of Rock Hall, which is one of the most thriving and 
handsome villages on the shore, with a number of 
stores, two schoolhouses — one with 200 scholars, the 
other some 75 to 80 — a first-class bakery, two barber 
shops, drug store, hotel, blacksmiths, lumber yard, 
livery stable, two butchers, carpenters and painters. 
The chief source of prosperity comes from the 
water — fish, oysters and crabs. There is here a fine 
canning plant, giving work to many hands during 
the canning season. 

It is said since the channel was cut to deep water 
in the bay, through which the tide runs rapidly, the 
crabs and fish have been more abundant, and it is 
no uncommon thing to ship one to five hundred bar- 
rels of crabs to Baltimore and Philadeli)hia daily. 
Thousands of bushels of ovsters are tonged dailv 
when weather permits the oyster fleet to go on the 

Owing to the extraordinary' health of the neigh- 
borhood, it is becoming a great resort in summer 
for those seeking health and pleasure, and during 
the past four seasons the Rock Hall boarding houses 
have been filled with boarders from the city. 

208 History of Kent County, Maryland 

With the view of obtaining a supply of pure water 
another artesian well has recently been sunk by the 
OAvner of the landing and farm, and the geological 
formation passed through is of interest, as certain 
facts were developed that were not known before — 
e. g., the thickness of the strata above the u})per 
])ortion of the lower cretaceous or chalk rock from 
which the flowing waters come. This latter forma- 
tion had never been found before on the Eastern 
Shore, although many deeper wells have been sunk 
down the bay. Three hundred feet of the miocene, 
eocene and upper cretaceous strata were passed 
through, and at the bottom of the latter a hard pan 
or crust was reached, Avhich, after much difficulty in 
drilling through the lower cretaceous strata, was 
found directly under the crust a water-bearing white 
sand, from which the Avater flows eight feet above 
tidewater with a uniform temperature of GO degrees. 
The water is remarkably free from all mineral or 
organic matter, except a slight trace of iron, which 
is held in solution by carbonic acid, of which there 
is abundance in the Avater. The inference is that the 
water passes under the bay toward the ocean, and 
comes from the elevated cretaceous sand of the 

A Thousand Sail Out for Opening of the Tonging 


Eock Hall is the center of the Kent County oyster 
industry, and this sketch is from the memory of the 
Avriter during the earlier days before the gasoline 
engine came nor the |5.00 per day jobs in j)owder 

HiSTOiiY OF Kent Cuuxtv, Mahvla 

XI > 


lu piepariug for the opening- of tlie season nil was 
activity and life. Every little detail was heiii*;- at- 
tended to and made ready for the "first day's catch/' 
Some of the quaint little arks in which the ovster- 



men live had been towed to their si a lions on ihe bav 
shore, in proximity to the distant oyster beds. Some, 
however, were still being fitted out. Beds and blan- 
kets were being stored away in the bnnks. and 
bright new pans and cooking utensils were nnpacked 
in readiness for honsekeei)ing. Over the door of 
every one of the arks is nailed an old horseshoe for 

210 History op Kent County^ Maryland 

good luck. About G50 boats make Rock Hall their 
headquarters during the season, and upward of 2,000 
persons are engaged in this industry. The average 
tonger's outfit consists of a pair of large rakes, one 
pair of tongs and a pair of nippers for shallow 
water. They have also a culling board, culling ham- 
mers, two half-bushel baskets and an iron half-bushel 

When the sun arose this first morning 1,000 sails 
dotted the waters of the Chesapeake Bay off Rock 
Hall and on the oyster beds of Chester River to be- 
gin the tonging season. About midnight the little 
oystering village began to stir, and about 2 o'clock 
in the morning the early birds set sail to catch the 
first oysters of the new season. The miain body of 
the great fleet of prettily painted boats did not get 
under way, however, until about daylight. The out- 
look for oysters is good, and one old oysterman who 
has spent 55 seasons between the shafts of the oyster 
tongs, after scanning the little bay, in which was a 
forest of masts of oyster craft, said : ^'The boys 
ought to gather up 3,000 bushels tomorrow." 

It is said that the Maryland oyster of good size 
lays about 16,000,000 eggs, and if half of these were 
to develop into female oysters we should have from 
a single female 8,000,000 female descendants in the 
first generation, and in the second 8,000,000 times 
8,000,000, or 64,000,000,000,000. In the fifth genera- 
tion nearly 33,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,- 
000,000 female oysters and as many males, or, in 
all, about 66,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,- 
000. If each oyster fills eight cubic inches of space, 
it is argued, it would take 8,000,000,000,000,000,000,- 

History of Kent County, Maryland 211 

000,000,000,000,000 to make a mass as large as the 
earth; thus it may be seen that the five generations 
of descendants from a single oyster, if allowed to 
accumulate, would cover the world eight times. As 
the oyster lives for many years, however, and lays 
eggs each year, the possible rate of increase is very 
much greater than shown. The enormous propor- 
tions of these figures are beyond the conception of 
the human mind, but they serve to give an idea of 
the possibilities of Maryland's resources when the 
oystermen of the State once become alive to the sit- 
uation and begin measures tending toward the pres- 
ervation of this vast gold mine of wealth. 

There seems to be no end to the varietv of articles 
taken from the Chesapeake Bav ovster beds bv the 
tongers and dredgers. Last year a Rock Hall oys- 
terman brought up a tombstone. About ten days 
ago a tonger was astonished to find a human skull 
in his tongs, and several days ago a fully equipped 
gasoline stove came up with the tongs. 

LJ12 History of Kext County, Maryland 


A XoTED Resort. 

TolcJiester Beach Famed Far and Wide — The Life 
Work of One Man — Founded in 1877 and Used 
for Picnics. 

The history of the Tolchester Beach Improvement 
Company of Kent County is practically the life 
story of one man, Ayho in his boyhood days heard 
the irresistible call of Ayind and Ayaye and wisely 
yielded to their witchery. Even so practical a place 
as a man's business office gradually acquires a cer- 
tain suggestion of the personality of its OAvner, and 
hv(» objects framed and hung upon the walls of the 
ottice of the Tolchester Steamboat Company, on 
Light street, Baltimore, convey to the observing eye 
and mind a strong suggestion of the mental charac- 
teristics of Captain William C. Eliason, organizer, 
])resident and manager of this company. The first 
is a colored drawing of the model of the hull of a 
steamboat — the little craft Lamokin — that once 
plied upon the Delaware, and was the first boat 
with which the man was associated; the other is 
five lines of verse printed in large letters, neatly 
framed in dark wood and so hung that it meets 
the eje from almost any jjart of the room. The 
verse reads : 

It is easy enough to be pleasant 
When life flows by like a song, 

But the man worth while 

Is the man who can smile 
When everything goes dead wrong. 

History of Kent County, ^rARYLAXi* 2\?* 

For several years under the supervision of the 
Messrs. Taggart, Captain ICliason was identified 
with the excursion and regnhir steand)oat naviga- 
tion of the Dehiware. Then the steamer IMlot Bov 


being for sale, the Messrs. Taggart conceived Ihe 
idea of purchasing it, buying some hmd upon the 
bay shore of Maryland, securing a wharf in lialli- 
more and opening an excursion resort witliin a few 
hours' ride of the city. They offered Captain Elia- 
son the management of the enterprise, provided lie 
purchase a one-fourth interest in the boat and 

214 History of Kent County, Maryland 

It was a big risk for a young man to stake his all 
upon an uncertainty, but the opportunity also had 
exceptional advantages. So the enterprise was 
launched in a very modest way in the year 1877. 
Ten acres of land comprised the company's posses- 
sions at Tolchester Beach, in Kent County, 23 miles 
east of Baltimore, on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, and 12 miles from Chestertown. 

The beach was then a crude picnic ground. There 
was a little wharf, one small building, a couple of 
sheds, a diminutive hand-propelled flying-horse ma- 
chine and a hand organ. These were the modest im- 
provements, but the tree-crowned bluff was a pic- 
turesque one, the beach a white-shelled, white-sanded 
slope, with bracing salt-water bathing. 

The company opened its resort with the announce- 
ment that the place would be strictly under temper- 
ance management, with no liquor sold upon the boat. 
This was a distinct innovation, and it was predicted 
that an excursion line founded upon temperance 
principles was foredoomed to a brief and profitless 
existence. Far from these gloomy predictions being 
realized, the example of temperance management 
set by the Tolchester Company has been followed 
since by most of the excursion boats now navigating 
the Chesapeake Bay. 

So to this little bayside resort plied the tiny 
steamer Pilot Boy, whose capacity w^as 600 passen- 
gers. Captain Eliason was manager, clerk of the 
steamer, clerk of wharf, excursion agent — even deck- 
hand, as necessity required it. Under the energetic 
direction the enterprise expanded like the Biblical 
grain of mustard seed. Each vear a few more acres 

History of Kent County, ^Faryland 21 : 

01 ^j 

of land or some improveuients were added as the 
patronage steadily increased. 

From the small beginning with the Pilot Boy the 
Tolchester Company has grown under the enthu- 
siastic and progressiye management of Captain Elia- 
son to the proportions of one of the most important 
steamboat corporations of Maryland. Tolchester 
Beach now embraces 155 acres, with a picturesque 
and commodious hotel perched breezily upon a bluff. 
From its wide yerandas a beautiful sweep of the 
Chesapeake Bay is yisible, and the grounds sur- 
rounding this summer inn are terraced to the beach 
and shaded with wide-spreading trees. In early 
spring the sod is blue with yiolets, and locust trees, 
laden with, white and perfumed blossoms, outline 
the curving shore. Inland from the beach are sev- 
eral lakes, hedged with green trees and flowering 
shrubs, on w^hose quiet waters float the broad leaves 
and wondrous blossoms of the water lily. 

The Tolchester Company now owns and oi)erates 
the steamers Louise, Emma Giles, Susquehanna and 
Annapolis. In addition to the Tolchester Hotel 
and excursion grounds the company has wharf 
property in Baltimore and Annapolis and on the 
West, Little Choptank, Sassafras and Susquehanna 

The officers of the company at tlie present time 
are: President and manager, William C. Kiias(m; 
secretary, William H. Hudson; treasurer, John ^L 
Naudain. The offices of the company are at Piers 
14, 15, 16 and 17 Light street. 

In 1899 the Sassafras River Steamboat Company 
was absorbed bv the Tolchester Line and the steam- 

216 History of Kent County, Maryland 

ers and property of that company added to the lat- 
ter company, thus securing the steamers Sassafras 
and Kitty Knight to the Tolchester fleet. Both of 
these boats were rephiced by better boats. The Kitty 
Knight ran out of Worton Creek for many years 
and Ayas known as the Trumpeter or Van CourUier. 

History of Kent County, ^rAUYr^AXD 'J 17 


''Fish Hall/' the Most Jitterestiny .Spot in Bctlcilon. 

To the westward old ''Fish llali;' tlir firsl lioiiso 
ever built in Betterton, stands like a li.nhiliouse (»ii ;i 
cliff. The bricks in its chimney were broiiolii froin 
old England more than a century ago. When (he 
first of the Crew family, ^]d^vard Cre^v, sailed from 
the old country and settled upon the farm where 
Betterton is now located, a friendly tribe of Indians 
who liyed in the rayine below helped him to cut and 
hew the trees and assisted in lading the fonndalioii 
of old ''Fish Hall." Here Edward Crew and liis 
wife, Elizabeth Hanson, reared a family of sous who 
early loyed to sail and fish upon the beautiful 
waters of the hay and rivers stretching beyond llieir 
home. For generations the Crews of "Fisli Hall" had 
watched the incomings and outgoings of th'^' fmuy 
tribe until now old Chesai)eake has attracted crowds 
of inhabitants to the high bluffs and slopiug vales 
of the modern village. Here on a summer's uiorning 
the light skiff's are steered to the lishiug banks or 
wrecks with the light and airy motion of seagulls. 
This old relic was torn down a few uumdis ago, and 
beneath the floors were found skulls whicli were sujt- 
posed to keep the "spooks'' away. A more beautiful 
scene is hard to find than is beheld from the ]»oitico 
of Turner's Rigbie as we look out upon the broad 
s^yeep of splendid vista. The distant Susquelianua, 
the fair and lovely Sassafras, High Point, the Grove 
dividing it by a thin line froui the flowing Elk. the 
Island of lr^pesutiae and the bold front of Turkey 
Point, Avith its friendly signal light that never fnils. 

218 History of Kent County, Maryland 


By the Bentztown Bard. 

Ten miles of Chesapeake, crossing the bay: 
Ten miles of Kentland across the blue way. 

Shadbake at Betterton all afternoon. 

Deep in the dream of the spring magic rune. 
Shad out of Eden, in Eden prepared, 
Hot rolls like those that were made when they fared 

On golden ambrosia in Helicon's prime. 

When lips sang of love and the honey dripped rhyme. 

Shadbake at Betterton! Don't make a noise 

This is a sort of a sacrament, boys! 

Food on the Chesapeake isn't just eat. 

But something artistic and sacred and sweet: 

Something quite matchless and magic and rare. 

Like goblets of dew on a breaker of air 

When clover has ripened and wheat's on the way 
In footsteps of music o'er meadows of May. 

Ten miles of Chesapeake — maybe it's m.ore! 

Ten miles of Kentland, with naiads on the shore. 

And sea nymphs and gods of old legend to guide 
Your feet to the table, with youth on your side, 

And shad served in glory as nowhere on earth 

'Tis served with a flavor that turns into mirth 

Each mouthful you swallow — your eyes turned above 
As you taste baked elation, and beauty, and love. 

Shadbake at Betterton — ten miles away 
Gleams the loved Kentland and sings the blue bay! 
Morning has served it with skies of soft blue, 
Songs of cock robin and honey and dew. 
Gods on Olympus still wonder at night 
Where Betterton shadbakes have been, for a bite; 
There in the grass searching early and late 
For one little crumb someone left on a plate. 

History of Kent County, ^r.vRYLAND 219 



220 Hlstouy of Kent County, Maryland 


SJiell BanJiS Made hij Indians — Happy Bunting 


The central part of Kent County and that portion 
which lies on Chesapeake Bay comprise a district 
the greater part of which is very fertile, and pos- 
sesses commercial advantages equal if not superior 
to any part of the State. Intersected in every direc- 
tion by broad and navigable creeks, bounded on the 
north bv the river Sassafras, on the south bv the 
Chester, and on the west b}^ the beautiful expanse of 
the Chesapeake, our great commercial emporium is 
brought within a convenient distance to every 

Among the most imj)ortant of these creeks may be 
mentioned the following, viz : 

Langford's Bay, Gray's Inn, Swan, Tavern, Mor- 
gan's, flowing into the Chester; Still Pond, Churn, 
£. Worton, Farley, emptying into the Chesapeake, and 
E.- Turner's and Llovd's, which flow into the Sassafras. 

Many of these are a quarter of a mile wide and 
. are navigable by vessels of 50 tons nearly to their 

The face of the country is equally" removed from 
the mountainous region and the continued plain. 
Gently swelling hills, covered with forest trees, 
everywhere adorn the surface, and fertile fields and 
winding streams add to the variety and beauty of 
the prospect. 

History of Kent Colxty, Mauvi.and L'lM 

Worton, Faii'lee and the bayside generally, from 
the Sassafras to the Chester, form a district remark 
able for its fertility, and the nnmerons shell l>anUs 
along the shore constitute a source of manure at 
once rich and inexhaustible. 

The origin of these immense collections of shells 
has long been a subject of dispute. It is generally 
ackno>vledged that the peninsula comprehended be- 
tAveen the Avaters of the Delaware and Chesapeake 
is an alluvion. It is, however, certain that the pe- 
riod at which the waters receded must be extremely 
remote. The depth of the soil, which is indisputably 
of A^egetable origin, and the large growth of timber, 
which covers, or (to speak more strictly) did at the 
time of its settlement cover, the Avhole face of the 
country, must be the work of many centuries. 

The first opinion respecting the formation of these 
shell banks is that they assumed their present form 
in consequence of the currents and tides of the sea, 
at a time when the whole country was in a state of 
submersion. In support of this hypothesis it is 
urged that the aboriginal population must have ex- 
ceeded all calculation hitherto made, otherwise 
these numerous and extensive banks could not have 
been formed by them. The advocates of this theory 
also have recourse to the well-known fact ol the 
existence of collections of the exuvia? of testaceous 
animals and limestone quarries, in situations far 
inland, universally believed to have been submerged 
at some remote period. 

On the other hand, it is argued that the aborigi- 
nal inhabitants drew their subsistence entirely from 
two sources, hunting and fishing; and when it is 

222 History of Kent County, Maryland 

considered that many thousands or hundreds of 
thousands of Indians inhabiting the extensive coun- 
try between the Delaware Bay and the Alleghany 
Mountains must have derived a considerable portion 
of their food, for probably some thousands of years, 
from the Chesapeake and its branches, it cannot 
appear so unreasonable to account for the formation 
of shell banks in this way. It is worthy of notice 
that these banks are not intermixed with sand 
(which, on the supposition of submarine formation, 
would be the case), but with a rich black vegetable 
mould, and that some are found at places where tra- 
dition informs us Indian towns were situated, on 
creeks where no species of shell fish are now known 
to exist. Without violating probabilities, we can 
easily suppose that the oysters may have been taken 
in the rivers and conveyed in canoes to the settle- 
ments. These settlements, or solitary cabins, were 
always located on the water. 

This intermixture of vegetable mould puts it be- 
3^ond question that these collections could not have 
been formed while in the state of submersion. One 
other circumstance, of some weight in deciding the 
question, may be noticed. These collections are well 
known to consist entirely of oyster shells, together 
with the bones of deer and other animals of the 
chase. Now if they were of submarine formation, 
these collections would be found to consist of all 
kinds of shells which exist in our waters, of which 
there is a considerable variety. 

Along the haj shore on Kennard's Point, Howell's 
Point, Fairlee Farm, and other places these shell 
beds may be found, some extending from 15 to 25 

History of Kent County, Maryland 223 

feet in deptli. Kelics consisting of Indian arrows, 
etc., have been dug up and even an Indian skull. 
Oysters in abundance could be caught off these 
points some years ago and it is said that these oys- 
ter-shell banks grew up from frequent councils lu'ld 
by Indians of the colonies who held their meetings 
here frequently. Mrs. W. S. Maxwell, of near Still 
Pond, has a splendid collection of relics found in 
these shell mines. 

Time, the destroyer of all things, has broken down 
these shells, and reduced them to a state of imper- 
fect calcination; and being intermixed, not in alter- 
nate strata, but irregularly through the whole mass, 
with a rich mould, they form a manure which ex- 
tensive experiments have proved to be of a superior 

To the residents of this Bay Shore the encroach- 
ments made upon their lands by the bay have been 
remarkable. One of the best examples is to be found 
on ''EUendale," ow^ned by Smith Bros., midway be- 
tween Rock Hall and Tolchester, a half-mile race 
track was made between the house and bay some 
years ago, but today the water has encroached to 
within a few yards of the house. 

Captain John Smith Discovers '^'^Tochwogh" (Sas- 
safras) River. 

Capt. John Smith (he of the Pocahontas story 
known to every school child), after discovering the 
Susquehanna river (1608) sailed down from the 
mouth of that river along the eastern side of the 
bay. Upon reaching the river now known as the 

224 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Sassafras he gave it the name of '•Tochwogh" in 
honor of the tribe of Indians of that name he found 
living on its southern banks. In his report of his 
voyage up the bay he states : On the eastern side of 
the hsij is the river Tochwogh, and upon it a people 
that can make one hundred men (Avarriors) seated 
some seven miles within the river, where thev have 
a fort very well pallizadoed and mantelled with 
barkes of trees. Entering the river Tochwogh, the 
savages all armed in a fleet of boats, after their 
barbarious manner, round invironed us; so it 
chanced one of them could speak the language of 
Powhatan, who persuaded the rest to a friendly par- 
ley^ — the}' conducted us to their pallizadoed towne 
mantelled with the barkes of trees, with scaffold like 
mounts brested about with breasts ver}^ formally. 

History of Kent County, Marylaxd 225 


'^MoNOMAC^'— An Indian Tale. By P. Wroth, J/. D. 

In pursuing my professional vocation, I often 
visited that locality (in Kent County) where tlie 
Churn and Still Pond Creeks, by one coniinon 
estuary, empty their waters into the Chesapeake 
Bay. On one of those visits I remember to have 
walked to the high bluff which looks down on the 
bay and to have stood under the shade of a ven- 
erable oak which stood near the edge of the bluff. 
Towards the south the eye took in the wide expanse 
of water to the mouth of the Patapsco River — on 
which the city of Baltimore is built — and north- 
ward to the mouth of the noble t^usquehanna. 

I sometimes indulge in a trip to the regions of 
Fancy, and on that ocasion my thoughts took a 
backward range and embraced the time when the 
Susquehannas, the Chesapeakes and the Nanti- 
cokes, numerous and powerful tribes of the aborig- 
ines, ranged over this extensive region as Lords of 
the Soil. 

The spot where I stood Avas near one of those 
immense shell banks which, doubtless, had been the 
site of a large Indian town. It is known tlial the 
aborigines drew their subsistence entirely from the 
woods and waters by the chase and taking fish and 
oysters, but many hundreds of years must have 
been required for the accumulation of those masses 
of shells. 

This venerable tree, I could not doubt, had shel- 
tered the heads of the Indians from the rays of the 

226 History of Kent County, Maryland 

sun more than 500 years ago; and Fancy carried 
me back to the time when their council fires had 
blazed under perhaps this very tree. I fancied my- 
self present at one of these councils about the time 
when Colonel Clayborne settled Kent Island with 
a colony from Virginia, which some years before 


I thought that 

had been colonized from England. 
I saw the Grand Sachem of the Chesapeake rise in 
all his native dignit}", and heard him thus address 
the assembled Avarriors : 

''Brothers ! 

''More than ten thousand moons have waxed and 
waned since the Great Spirit — the God of our 
Fathers — brought us to these hunting grounds. Our 
fathers had disobeyed his commands by worshipping 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2'2 

idols — gods made with hands — and He drove our 
fathers from that bright and pleasant land, where 
the sun casts his first and brightest beams, to this 
western wild! 

"Brothers and braves! Our fathers repented — 
and the good and great Spirit commanded the sun 
to melt the snows which covered the Alleghany 
Mountains which lie towards the setting sun. 

"From these snows, as from a fountain, flowed 
the beautiful Susquehanna River. He planted the 
bottom of this wide water at our feet — the noble 
Chesapeake — with delicious oysters and animated it 
with fish. He caused the raccoon, the bear, the elk 
and the deer to fill our forests and cover the grassy 

"Thus the land of our exile became even more 
plenteous than the first home the Great Spirit had 
given to our fathers. 

"Braves and brothers! Our hearts have become 
proud and ungrateful — and we too, like our fathers, 
are doomed to be driven from these loved hunting 
grounds ! 

"Brothers and braves! Last night I was resting 
under this tree after the fatigue of the chase, when 
the voice of the Great Spirit came over the dark 
water and said ^Monomac — Monomac — stand up! 
Look towards the island over which the sun stands 
at midday.' I arose and looked through the shades 
of night — when the heavens were clothed with a 
black mantle and the lightning flashed through the 
sky, and I saw mighty canoes, with wide-spread 
wings, flying swiftly through the air towards our 
shore like a hungrv eagle on his prey ! The canoes 

228 History of Kent County, Maryland 

were filled with beings like ourselves — but whose 
skins were white as the snow which covers these 
hills in winter! T spoke and said, ^Ave these the 
messengers of good or evil?' The terrible voice re- 
plied, 'Of evil to you; for they will drive you from 
these hunting grounds far beyond the mountain 
which looms up toward the setting sun ; but of good 
to generations yet unborn!' 

'^Braves and brothers ! I believe the words of the 
Great Spirit — the God of our Fathers. Let us pre- 
pare to wander where destiny calls us. There, if 
we are humble and grateful, we may find the deer, 
the bear, and the buffalo to feed us with their flesh 
and clothe us with their skins," 

In imagination I saw the big tears welling down 
their manlv faces as thev drew near to their be- 
loved Sachem who had never turned his back to his 
enemies ! And — at this moment returning from my 
excursion to the region of Fancy, and looking 
tOAvard the countrv where once roamed the savage 
wild beast and the still more savage red man, now 
covered with the golden harvest and other evidences 
of civilization. Plain prose uoav took the place of 
l^oetic fancy ; the facts of everyday life could not be 
thrown aside, and I remembered that not one red 
man had been in these forests for more than 2,000 
moons ! 

I left the shade of the magnificent and venerable 
oak — Avhich had braved the storms of seven or eight 
hundred winters, and mounting my sulky, drove 
rapidl}^ away. 

History of Kent Coixtv, ,» i!l'II 


Some Recollections. 

Kent County can i)()int with pride to tlic Iicalili 
fulness of its climate and to the longevity of life ol" 
many of her citizens. A good example is I'ound in 
"Aunt Mary" Thomas. ''Aunt Mary" was yisited at 
her home at the Clitfs, the lower part of Quaker 
X^eck, by the writer when she was rounding oul her 
ninety-sixth year. 

She remembered with yiyid distinctness the yast 
strides of progress in many departments of life. She 
recalled to her interviewer a few of theui, as follows: 
From cutting wheat with a sickle to self-binders; 
from the slow old stage coach of our ''daddies," of 
six miles an hour, to the express train of sixty 
miles; from six months to get a letter from Europe 
to six days, and the telegraph and all electrical iu- 
yentions and improyements ; diamond-back terrai>in 
at fiye cents each to |80 a dozen, oysters for the 
picking up to a hard time to get a mess, fish so plen- 
tiful that they Ayould almost bite you if you went in 
swimming; from the old packet line of schooneis lo 
an excellent and efficient steamboat service. Tweniy 
years ago there were seyen gates to open or bars lo 
let down to get to Mrs. Thomas' home from the main 
road, now there is a good road to the water's edge. 
Then her nearest neighbor was a (piarter of a niih> 
off, now houses are within calling distance. 

Mrs. Thomas says that she taught the lirst pri- 
mary school in the county, at the forks of the roads 

ft. • 

leading to Rock Hall and Pine Neck, in a house 

230 History of Kent County, Maryland 

called ''Solomon-s Temple/' owned by Capt. Solo- 
mon Marine. It was difficult at that time to get 
teachers, and Mrs. Thomas was prevailed upon to 
teach the young idea how to shoot, receiving $300 
per annum. Col. Fred Wilson, James Adkinson and 
her father were the trustees. She had 32. small 



scholars and a number of larger ones. General 
Keed's daughter was an intimate friend, and the 
"young school marm" was in the habit of making 
fun of the General's large iron candlestick, saying 
that so wealthy a man should have silver or gold. 
He (the General) told her he would send this candle- 
stick to her for a Avedding gift, and to her surprise 
the General's daughter sent her the candlestick 
after her marriage. 

Another remarkable citizen was Mr. Henry Davis, 
father of Mr. Harry Davis, at Still Pond, a former 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2:^»1 

County Commissioner. Tliis vcncral)lo man was !)7 
years of age and retained eyery fa cully iiniiiii>airod. 
It was no uncommon thing for ;Mr. Day is to "take a 
little outing" of four miles on foot ''for his health." 
One of the most remarkable women living in Kent 
County today is Mrs. Carolene Hanson, the widow 


of Richard Hynson. She is in her ninety-eightli 
year, and has a most retentiye memoi'v and keeps in 
close touch with her yaried farm and business in- 
terests. She conyerses interesting!}' of events which 
occurred before the memory of the average citi/.en 
began. She lives on Water street, in the old Hyn- 
son homestead. As an instance of her business abil- 
ity, although 97 years of age, she planned and con- 
tracted for the erection of the elegant home now 

232 History of Kent County, Maryland 

occupied b}^ her son's widow and cliildren. Tliis 
home lies opposite Mrs. Hynson's residence. 

Possibly the oldest colored person living in Kent 
was Sarah Wilson, who, according to authentic rec- 
ords, was 105 years of age. She died near Melitota 
on January 24, 1893, and was buried near Green 

The late K. T. Turner says that Clara Waters, who 
died near Still Pond on June 8, 1885, was 101 years 
old. Miss Caroline Thompson, a most interesting 
resident of Chestertown, died here on July 11, 1885, 
aged 99 years 4 months. 

Kent^s Silver Mine. 

In or about the 3 ear 1813 valuable and pure silver 
was found near Galena. Mrs. M. H. Xickle of Bal- 
timore says: ''Sufficient quantities were taken out 
to be carried to Philadelphia and manufactured into 
knee buckles, spoons, casters, and other such arti- 
cles." The then open mine or valuable deposit was 
closed, as it was owned by very ignorant white and 
colored people and they were advised to close it, as 
it was about the time the British came to George- 
town, a place onh^ two miles distant. They were 
told that if the English knew of this mine they 
would claim it. They never made any more effort 
to open it and the war and natural excitement which 
succeeded the war prevented others from taking hold 
of it, who otherwise would have done so. Two or 
three years ago some specimens on this tract were 
picked up and taken to Prof. W. Leslie Rumsell, 
analytical chemist, and examined by him. They 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2:53 

proved to be horn silver, ver}- pure. Tlie present 
owner says she is too poor to have it properly mined. 
In November, 1878, local option was adopted in 
Kent County by a vote of 1,984 for prohibition to 
1,391: against, giving a majority of 590. Auotlier vote 
was taken later upon petition of the litpior advo- 


cates, but the prohibitionists won l)y over a thou- 
sand majority, since which time tliere has been nu 
agitation for another test. 

A Great Prize Fight. 

Wednesday, February 7, 1819, Rock Toint, mouth 
of Still Pond Creek, was the scene of a gi-eat na- 
tional prize fight. The weather was intens(dy coUl 

234 History of Kent County, Maryland 

and the fight was the talk of society refined and un- 
refined for months beforehand. The participants 
were Tom Hver, who stood 6 feet 2^ inches and 
weighed 185 pounds, and Yankee Sullivan, 5 feet 

KENNEDYVILLE high school— 1915. 

1014 and an avoirdupois of 155 pounds. The stake 
was 110,000. The daily papers contained lengthy 
accounts of the fight. The principals, with their 
backers, were chased hither and thither about the 
Chesapeake Bay in order to prevent the fight. Fi- 
nally they landed at Kock Point and pulled off the 
fight. Hyer on the sixteenth round caught Sulli- 
van's head under his right arm and punished him 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2:>5 

until he was satisfied, when he was forcibly taken 
from the ring b}' his friends, liver chiiniing tlie 

"Crow Hill." 

About equal distance between Black's Station and 
Chesterville is a settlement called ''Crow Hill." It 

at the chambers house, on water street. 

236 History of Kent County, Maryland 

was given this name man}' years ago because of the 
fact that all the crows within a radius of fifty miles 
assembled there every day at dusk to spend the long, 
cold nights of the winter. It is a barren spot, save 
for the scattered trees which serve as a roosting 
place for the birds. On a cold winter day its ap- 
pearance is the very extreme of desolation and dis- 
comfort, and one naturallv wonders wliv our friends 
of the sombre raiment did not select a more shel- 
tered spot. Here they have been gathering, however, 
thousands upon thousands, from time immemorial. 
Just now the place is uninhabited, because in the 
early spring the crows i^air off and take to the 
woods, where they build large, bulky nests of sticks, 
and lay greenish eggs heavih^ spotted with dark 

Negro Superstitions. 

For weird mystery and a something that is past 
finding out it is the proneness of many Kent negroes 
to superstition. While the supernatural plays a 
prominent part in all that he does or thinks, this 
is peculiarly the case as regards the weather. For in- 
stance, if rabbits in the fall show a tendency to bear 
to the left when tliev are routed from their beds bv 
the huntsman or his dog, the winter is certain to 
be ''perishing cold." If, on the contrary, he turns 
to the right, a mild winter must result. For the 
winter, 1899, the fall maneuvers of the Kent County 
cottontails indicated "an awful winter, sir, fur, 
please de Lawd, dey turned almos' clean around to 
de lef .' " 

History of Kent C(hxtv. >rAijvi..\ 



Then, too, those tiiiie-lioiiored weatlier forecasters, 
the immaciihite little imiskrats, instead of huildin.r 
the walls of tlieir ''Xoali's ark of the marshes" lii<'h 
and thick — forwarned, as it were, by some unknown 
poAver of a desperatel.y cold winter, an old "ratter" 

" llltfl 




states that the}" burrowed into the higli river banks, 
far above the reach of tides and ice. Corn-husks 
Ave^-e thick, hornets' nest close to the ground, cliest- 
nuts abundant, the bark of trees r(>u<ih and lieavy, 
and still a winter of plienomenally liigh lenipera- 
tures prevailed. 

The negro mind, in a vast numl)er of instances, 
clings to the superstitions of centuries l)ack. In the 
pockets of many of them may be found two moles' 
feet, neatl}" tied together, or a round, wliite stone, 

238 History of Kent County, Maryland 

taken from some abandoned fish-hawk's nest, known 
as the ''liick stone." A dried eelskin is considered 
a prevention against cramp, and a leather string 
around a child's neck will drive back the whooping 
cough. Of course, the foot of a graveyard rabbit 
means unfailing "good luck." . ._ 

the palmer house on high street, chestertown, occupied 


One of the most widely-knoAvn and successful 
fishermen never thinks of setting a net, or placing 
a trap on the marsh, without adorning them with a 
bunch of rags or a little bag possessing some 
mysterious power to woo the coveted game. Even 
the eel trap on the muddy flats is given this little 
bag as a talisman of good luck. What these bags 
contain, no one but the weather-beaten old trapper 

History of Kent County, Maryland 230 

knows, but his faith is like that of a little child, as 
interesting and unfailing. 

The weird dreams of the negro mind in the realms 
of superstition would fill columns and these dreams 
mark a most interesting phase of negro character. 
But there is now a tendency, even on the part of the 
colored people, to repudiate their former blind faith 
in ghosts and ghostly things, but in many casc^ this 
is only a make-believe, for while the old fellow savs, 
in faltering tones, that he used to believe in spirits, 
he has ''kind a lost faith,-' his pocket may then be 
stored with moles' feet, luckstones and amulets of 
many kinds. Many farmers are firm believers in the 
effect of the moon, and never fail to consult their 
almanacs as to the moon in planting corn or pota- 
toes, as well as in butchering their porkers. 

Constitution of 1776. 

James" T ilghman, Queen Annes County — 1791. Chief 
Judge— died 1809. 

Richard Tilghman Earle, Queen Annes County. Chief 
Judge — vice Judge Tilghman — 1809. 

Edward Worrell, Kent County. Associate Judge — 1806. 
' Lemuel Purnell, Talbot County. Associate Judge — 1806. 

Robert Wright, Kent County. Associate Judge, 1822— 
vice Judge Worrell, deceased. 

Philemon B. Hopper, Queen Annes County. Associate 
Judge, 1826 — vice Judge Wright, deceased. 

John B. Eccleston, Kent County. Associate Judge, 1832— 
vice Judge Purnell, deceased. 

Ezekiel F. Chambers, Kent County. Associate Judge, 
1824 — vice Judge Earle, resigned. 


Judge Eccleston, Associate Judge, Court of Appeals. 
Judge P. B. Hopper, Circuit, Kent, Queen Annes, Caroline 
and Talbot Counties. 

Judge R. B. Carmichael, 1858— vice Judge Hopper, 

Judge Jas. B. Ricaud, March 1, 1864— vice Judge Car- 
michael, resigned. 

240 History of Kent County, Mauyland 

Constitution of 1864. 
Second Judicial Circuit — Kent and Queen Annes. 
Judge John M. Robinson. 

Constitution of 1869. 

Judge John M. Robinson, Chief Judge. 

Judge Joseph A. Wickes, Associate Judge. 

Judge Frederick Stump, Associate Judge. 

Judge Geo. M. Russum, Chief Judge, January 14, 1896 — 
vice Judge Robinson, deceased. 

Judge James A. Pearce, Cliief Judge, December 4, 1897 — 
elected November, 1897. 

Judge Wm. R. Martin, Associate Judge, December 4, 1897. 

Judge Edwin H. Brov^n, Associate Judge, October 4, 19U1 
— vice Judge Stump, deceased. 

Judge Wm. H, Adkins, Associate Judge, September 22, 
1906 — vice Judge Martin, deceased. 

Judge Austin L. Crothers, Associate Judge, March 29, 
1906 — vice Judge Brown, deceased. 

Judge P. B. Hopper, Associate Judge, July 31, 1907 — vice 
Judge Crothers, resigned. 

Judge Albert Constable, Chief Judge — elected November, 


History of Kext Coisty, ^rAuvi.wi. •_» 1 1 


TJiG Old Court House— To Kcntlmid's Green 


By Percy G. Skiuvex. 

The administration of the affairs of a county re- 
quires a buikling in which tlie judicial body of the 




county can hold its sessions. In nddition to this 
requirement there should be a i)lace in tlic hiiih]in«; 
for filing the records of these meetings. Provision 
must be made for the meeting of the Orphans' Court 
and the filing of papers pertaining to the work of 
this Court — wills, inventories of estates and admin- 

242 History of Kent County, Maryland 

istration accounts. Further provision must be made 
for the meeting of the County Commisioners, which 
is the administrative body handling the financial 
affairs of the county. In the same building are kept 
the records of all transactions pertaining to the 
transfer and mortgaging of lands within the limits 
of the county. These records are in the care of the 
officer known as the Clerk of the County Court. 

Such are the requirements of a building designed 
to take care of the administrative affairs of that 
division of a state known as a "county." 

When Kent was made a county of the Province of 
Maryland in 1642, the Governor appointed the 
Commissioners of Justice. Giles Brent was made 
Chief Judge in all matters civil and criminal. The 
official document reads as follows: 

"To Mr. Secretary, 

These are to will and require you to draw a commis- 
sion to Mr. Giles Brent to be Commander of the Isle of 
Kent; and for Mr. William Luddington and Mr. Richard 
Thomson to be joined with him in Commission. 

Leonard Calvebt, Govr." 
August 2nd, 1642. 

Prior to that time the Isle of Kent had been a 
"hundred^' of St. Mary's and Capt. John Langford 
was the sheriff, he having been appointed in Feb- 
ruary, 1637. He was reappointed in 1642 and the 
Isle of Kent now became a county with the neces- 
sary officers to govern it as such. 

There arose the question of a place for the Jus- 
tices to meet to hold Court. As the center of the 
population of the new county was on the lower end 
of the present Kent Island, it was decided in 1639 
that Court should be held at the old Kent Fort. 

History of Kent County, Maryland 243 

That place soon gave way to one more convenient 
on Broad Creek. It, too, soon fell into disuse 
and the sittings of the Court were held at the houses 


of some one of the prominent colonists whose dwell- 
ing was large enough to provide for the accommo- 
dation of the Justices. For that accommodation 
and use of the house the host was paid in tobacco. 

In 1671 Charles Calvert, then Governor of the 
^Trovince," appointed the Justices for Kent County 
as follows: Thomas South, Joseph A^'ickes, James 
Ringgold, John Hinson, Henry Hozier, Arthur 
Wright, John Wright, Tobias Wells and William 

244 History of Kent County, Maryland 

Lawrence. On the back of the commission was 
written by the Governor : 

"I do hereby Order that the place for holding your 
County Court be in some part of the Eastern Neck and 
not upon the Island (meaning Eastern Neck Island) as 

Given under my hand the 2nd day of July, 1674. 

Charles Calvert, Govr.'' 

For several years prior to this order the Court 
had been held on Eastern Neck Island at the home 
of one of the Justices, Mr. Joseph Wickes. His 
plantation was known as ''Wickclitfe," and is today 
one of the finest estates in Marvland. 

At that time, 1674, the Provincial Assembly sit- 
ting at St. Mary's passed an act providing for the 
erection of court houses in each of the counties, and 
in 1679 the Commissioners used a Court House 
which the}' had built on the land of James Kinggold 
at the town of New Yarmouth on Gray's Inn Creek. 
In 1680 James Ringgold deeded the lot of land 
(about half an acre) on which the Court House 
stood to Charles Calvert, then the third Lord Balti- 
more. There was also a jail standing on the lot and 
it, too, had been built by the County Justices. 

The Court for Kent Countv was held in the Court 
House at New Yarmouth for sixteen years, but the 
increasing population of the county made it im- 
perative to hold court in a more convenient place. 
The Commissioners Avere authorized b}' the Assem- 
bly to buy a piece of land on the Chester River at 
the present location of Chestertown. Court was 
held in 1696 at the house of Mr. Isaac Caulk and he 
received 1,020 pounds of tobacco "for expenses" in 
entertaining the Justices. 

History of Kent Coimi', Mahvlami 245 

At the meeting of the Justices on Uetolxir 30, 
1696, to levy tobacco to \n\y the current expenses of 
the county and to meet the bills authorized at the 
previous Court, 2,000 pounds of tobacco was placed 
in the sheriff's hands to pay for the land on which 


to build the Court House. The entry in the old 
book, known as the Court Proceedings, now in ilic 
Court House at Chestertown, says : "* * * (he 
tobacco to remain in the Sheriff his custodie until 
the right owner approved that can give a sufticient 
and good title to the county for the same or lill 
the Justices of this county shall otherwise order the 
said tobacco." There evidently was some defect in 
the title to the hind. 

Simon Wilmer, then surveyor for the county, was 
paid 200 pounds of tobacco "for laying out the land 
for the Court House and recording the same." 

246 History of Kent County, Maryland 

A contract was made aa itli John Sutton, AA'itli Col. 
Peter Sayer as his bond, for building the Court 
House, and at this session of the Court (October 30, 
1096) 6,000 pounds of tobacco AAas appropriated to 


pay for the house AN'hen completed — the sheriff to 
keep the tobacco in his hands until authorized to 
pay it to the builder. 

As the next Court for making the Ica^a' A\'as held at 
the house of Mr. Isaac Caulk on the 8th of Novem- 
ber, 1697, it is evident that the Court House an as not 
then finished. At that session of the Court Morgan 
BroA\^n Avas paid 700 pounds of tobacco to build a 
chimney on the Court House, and the "Plasterer" 

History of Kent County, Maryland 2t7 

1,000 pounds of tobacco iur plas(ciiii«» ilic ('(.ml 
H^ouse. To Simon Wilmer's negro Janios 1!)0 pounds 
01 tobacco was paid ''for hairs nsod in ]»laslcriii<; ilic 
Court House/' and to Godfrey Tener J<5 jionnds of 
tobacco ''for more nails for Ihe i)lasterer.'' Tlierc 



were also appropriated 400 pounds of tobacco to be 
paid to Mr. William Bladen "for drawino- the IJill 
preferred to the House of Assembly for the Court 
House land." 

The land on which the Court House was built was 
like all other lands in the province, subject to a 
yearly quit rent to be paid into the treasury of the 
Lords Baltimore and in the Debt P>ook of the Prov- 
ince for the year 1757 the following entry appears: 
"Kent County to part of 'Stepney,' Court House 

248 History of Kent County, Maryland 

land, 2 acres, Eent due at Lady's Day (March 25th, 
1757) % pence." As the rent was i^ayable at the 
two most principal feasts of the year — the Feast of 
the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
March 25th, and the Feast of St. Michael the Arch- 


angel, September 29tli — the total rent for the year 
]Daid by Kent Countj^ was one pence! 

This interesting record shows that the land on 
which the Court House was built and in fact the 
whole of Chestertown was laid out was part of a 
grant of land known as "Stepney" and a deed for 
100 acres from Rebecca Wilmer recorded in the land 
records for Kent County, under date of 23d of Sep- 
tember, 1690, further confirms the fact. 

History of Kent Coixtv, ^rAuvr.Axn 210 


From Md.'s Colonial Eastern Shore. 


Commanding a splendid view of the upper Chester River and the surround- 
ing counti-y, this rai-e example of Dutch architecture that has been handed 
down to the present generation is now the home of Dr. F. N. Sheiijjard. It 
is one of two such houses now standing in this State. The other is in Fi-ed- 
erick County. Each of the houses was built by the son of an emigrant from 
Holland. William Comegys, who built this house, was the second son of 
Cornelius Comegys, who emigrated to Virginia from Holland and who came 
to Maryland from Virginia about 1666. 

The house is built of old-style English brick, and is an addition to an old 
log house still in good repair which first served to shelter William Comegys 
and his family when he took up the land on which it stands. At the time 
(1708?) William Comegys built this house there was a ferry at that part of 
the Chester River now called Ci-umpton, then known as McAllister's Ferry. On 
the Queen Anne side of the river William Cinjjnp took up a large tract of 
land, and it was for him that the village was called Crumpton. 

For years there had been a well-established route of travel from William- 
stadt (now Oxford), Talbot County, to Philadelphia and the Northern settle- 
ments. This route led past the o!d Wye Church in Talbot to Crumpton, over 
the Chester into Kent ; across that county to Georgetown and Fredericktown. 

250 History of Kent County, Maryland 

As will be seen by the accompanying picture of 
the old building a very substantial addition was 
made to it, but just when this occurred I have not 
been able to determine. The search of the proceed- 
ings of the Court should show the date it was built 
and the cost. 

The old Court House was the scene of manv 
notable events that occurred through the years from 
its completion in 1698 down to the time when the 
increased population of Kent County demanded its 
removal to make room for a larger building. It was 
found totally inadequate to meet the requirements 
of the Court in the years just preceding the Civil 
War and in 1860, that old Colonial relic was torn 
down to make room for the building now standing. 


By Folger McKixsey. 

Over the bay on the B. S. Ford, 

Over the bay to the garden of the Lord 

Planted in Kentland with beauty and gleam 

Of meadows and orchards in mirrors of dream — 

Rock Hall and Queenstown and Bogles and Cliffs, 

And then the green wheat, and the inbetween whiffs 

Of locust and honey — my heart is a sailor. 

Over the bay with my friend, Captain Taylor. 

Ho! her cut-water 
Away on the Ford 

To Kentland's green garden, 
The dream of the Lord! 

Quaker Neck landing as twilight shuts down: 
Rolph's and then the home stretch to sweet ChestertowD; 
High street just dabbling its feet in the river 
And rising far off to the sky, where the Giver 
Of good and all goodness set here with his hand 
The cream of all rivers; the rose of land. 
To glimpse through blue vistas of beauty and bloom 
Till hearts sink no longer in shadow and gloom. 
All aboard, shipmates! 

The Chester's loved stream, 
Like a ribbon of rose, 

Binds the heart in its dream. 

Her nose tickles Deep Point and rippling we go 

By Ashland and Wilmers, where willows bend low. 

And catbirds are calling, and over the w^ay 

They're frying fresh herring from loved Lankford Bay; 

And Bookers is dreaming and yonder they wait 

To take us to supper at Chestertown's gate, 

Where the bridge over Chester walks many a span 

To smile and shake hands with its neighbor. Queen Anne. 

Here's the last bay buoy. 
The Ford has steamed over 

Unto the green wheatlands 
Of Kent and her clover! 

Ah, but my heart, how it sings like a sailor, 

Over the bay with my friend. Captain Taylor! 

The shy lights of twilight just quivering down 

In love light and dove twilight o'er fair Chestertown — 

And there, the old mansions, where fancy still sees 

Before the fair daughters, till ear speaks to eye 

Of field jumps and ditches, with hounds in full cry. 

Water street, dreaming; 
Ah, w^ake not the spell 

Of the loved days of Kent 
That the Lord loves so well!